South Africa T20 league signs up 30 'marquee' international players

Graeme Smith talks to the media AFP

CSA's new T20 league has said it has already signed over 30 "marquee" international players for its inaugural season beginning in January next year. Though it did not name any of the players in its statement, the league said "the numbers [are] set to increase as players enter the auction taking place in the next few weeks."

ESPNcricinfo had reported last month that Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone and Jason Holder were some of the players who had signed up for the tournament.

The league, which is expected to offer player salaries up to USD 300,000, is in direct competition for players with the International League T20 - UAE's new T20 league - which is also scheduled to begin in January next year. The ILT20, however, released a list of big-ticket players on Monday, which included names like Andre Russell, Moeen Ali, Wanindu Hasaranga, Alex Hales, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Jordan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Each franchise in the CSA T20 league will have a squad of 17 players and they will get to pre-sign up to five players - three overseas, one South Africa international player and one uncapped South African player - prior to the auction that will be held in the next few weeks. The league is likely to allow four international players in a playing XI, with no other requirements such as transformation targets.

"This is an important milestone for the League," league commissioner Graeme Smith said. "Having world-class South African players playing with some of best cricketers around the world makes for some outstanding cricket. I'm mostly excited for the young and upcoming talent in our cricket pipeline. They will get to rub shoulders with some experienced and talented players which will no doubt inspire and help them to raise their own game.

"The League's priority is to help strengthen our domestic cricket structures while putting on an exciting and entertaining cricketing showpiece. "Our player regulations have been thoughtfully drafted in consultation with the franchises and everyone is ready to get going. We're looking forward to seeing how the teams match up and how the franchises will build their squads."

All six franchises in the CSA T20 league were bought by groups that own franchises in the IPL. Mumbai Indians is one of them and named their franchise 'MI Cape Town'. They also own a team in the ILT20 and have called it 'MI Emirates'.

The two leagues in South Africa and the UAE will also overlap with the BBL and BPL, which will only increase the demand for players in January next year.