Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist


SA20 has brought fans back to stadiums, but will it make a real difference?

Local players have stood up and delivered in what has turned out to be a breakthrough series for South African cricket.


Local players - both young and experienced - have taken full advantage of the SA20 league, delivering memorable performances throughout the inaugural campaign. But how much of a difference is it really going to make at the foundations of domestic cricket? While the squads were packed with international stars from around the world, South African players were able to stand up and deliver with bat and ball during the new T20 series. Local stars Of the 15 players who had made more than 200 runs in the new league ahead of Sunday's rain-delayed final, 10 were South African batters. And…

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Local players – both young and experienced – have taken full advantage of the SA20 league, delivering memorable performances throughout the inaugural campaign. But how much of a difference is it really going to make at the foundations of domestic cricket?

While the squads were packed with international stars from around the world, South African players were able to stand up and deliver with bat and ball during the new T20 series.

Local stars

Of the 15 players who had made more than 200 runs in the new league ahead of Sunday’s rain-delayed final, 10 were South African batters. And of the four players who had hit more than 300 runs, only one was a foreigner.

Among the best bowlers in the tournament, 14 of the 18 players who had taken 10 wickets or more ahead of the final were playing on home soil. Even more impressive, the top five wicket takers in the series were all South African.

ALSO READ: Top five performers ahead of SA20 final

These sorts of statistics point not only to quality performances, with local players standing up in what has turned out to be a breakthrough series for South African cricket.

The stats also showcase the depth of the sport at domestic level, with so many players able to hold their own against world-class opposition in the explosive T20 format.

Future of SA cricket

Whatever money is made by stakeholders – always a driving factor in tournaments which aim to attract fans and broadcasters in order to turn a profit – the key message which has been pushed by just about everybody involved is that this will pave the way to a bright future for South African cricket.

And in this sense, the organisers have achieved their objective. They’ve managed to gain significant interest from cricket fans, packing stadiums and proving the sport can still attract big crowds.

ALSO READ: Cream rises to the top as SA20 joins elite T20 leagues

In terms of actual development, however, it’s still unclear whether the SA20 series will make much of a difference to the Proteas squad, especially in longer forms of the game.

As lucrative as the new campaign is for rising local stars, analysts have repeatedly pointed to a lack of quality and depth in first-class cricket, and it is there that any real turnaround will have to begin.

Granted, the SA20 league has done well to reignite interest in local cricket, but more needs to be done if the domestic game is going to be regrown into a sufficient breeding ground for the national team.

One successful tournament in the shortest format is a huge step forward, but it’s not enough to turn the whole thing around.

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