“There’s so much talent [in SA], I hope we can develop that talent to play under pressure on the global stage. Look at the amount of strong cricketers that have come through in the IPL. Hopefully, there’ll be 25-35 players in the next couple of years who will make the selectors’ jobs very, very difficult
Graeme Smith during the SA20 press conference in the city yesterday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Former South Africa captain, now the SA20 Commissioner Graeme Smith expected a better performance from the Proteas in the recently concluded T20 World Cup in Australia. However, Smith, 41, believes that the beginning of the T20 League in SA will help the national team build a strong outfit, which can deliver better results at ICC tournaments.
“There’s so much talent [in SA], I hope we can develop that talent to play under pressure on the global stage. Look at the amount of strong cricketers that have come through in the IPL. Hopefully, there’ll be 25-35 players in the next couple of years who will make the selectors’ jobs very, very difficult.
“Unfortunately, South Africa have to deal with these [tough] questions until they actually win a tournament. The ICC has given them a lot of chances with a tournament almost every year. Hopefully, that will change,” Smith said on the sidelines of the SA20 press conference at a city five star hotel on Friday.
After their 13-run defeat to The Netherlands in their last Group 2 game at Adelaide last month, SA were knocked out of the T20 World Cup. “We had a strong team in this World Cup. We had a good chance [to win]. But, obviously disappointed with the way we finished,” Smith remarked.
When asked if any Indian players will play the SA League, Smith said: “India have some of the most talented cricketers in the world. Everyone wants to see them live in South Africa. But it’s the BCCI’s prerogative, it’s their players. They have the opportunity to make those choices. If that changes in time, we’ll hopefully be able to bring some Indian talent to South Africa. But at the moment, it is what it is.”
When further asked if BCCI allows one player to play in this league, will it be the in-form Suryakumar Yadav, he said in jest: “Yes, Surya. Can he play for South Africa?”
The inaugural SA20 league will start on January 10.