South Africa’s younger players will suffer the most from the postponement of the T20 Global League, according to pace spearhead Dale Steyn. The league was due to be played from November 3 until December 16 but has been put off for a year as CSA struggles to deal with the costs and logistics of a tournament of this nature.
Though no replacement fixtures have been announced, the domestic franchise T20 competition is expected to played in that period. There is some talk of increasing of payments for that event, but it will not nearly be as monied as the T20 Global League.
“I feel for the younger guys, the guys who were set to earn some cash and were maybe looking at buying a flat or a car. The excitement gets to you, especially when you’re young and all of a sudden you get the opportunity to earn US$100,000,” Steyn said at a sponsor event on Thursday. “Could you imagine being 21 and someone offers you 100,000 dollars and then three weeks later says, ‘oh you are not getting it anymore’. It kind of ruins your plans and hopes.”
Recent ODI and Tests debutants Dane Paterson and Aiden Markram, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi and Heinrich Klaasen all became overnight Rand millionaires after the draft but will not see that money just yet, if at all. It’s not simply a case of rolling the contracts over for next year because things change in cricket, neither is there any certainty the tournament will actually take place given that its organisation is now under investigation.
The South African Cricketers’ Association is in the process of negotiating with CSA but, according to CEO Tony Irish, is doing so while being “mindful of the situation CSA is in”. CSA has already lost millions of Rands in stadium upgrades, marketing and a lavish launch for the T20 Global League and though player payments must be made, it is unclear if that will happen in full. All that means the young players who were expecting big pays may not see them.
For Steyn, it’s not just the financial implications of this tournament being postponed that matter but also the intangibles. An event like T20 Global League would have also provided young players with exposure that could have resulted in them getting deals in other T20 leagues, where South Africa’s most established players already have contracts. “For the older players, it does not matter so much, they are set. You look at AB [de Villiers], anybody in the world would take AB, any team. He doesn’t have to prove himself but maybe a Dane Paterson, who is just making his way and was set to earn some money… This would have been a nice platform for him and other guys. It’s unfortunate but it’s the way it is.”