Graeme Smith excited to bring bigger, better SA20 in season 2

Graeme Smith excited to bring bigger, better SA20 in season 2

SA20 commissioner Graeme Smith is relishing the second edition of the national Twenty20 cricket league, which saw a successful inaugural season earlier this year.

The former Proteas captain turned administrator this week launched the 2024 edition, releasing the fixture schedule well in advance to start building excitement for the showpiece meant to rival other global T20 leagues.

Smith, who is using the experience of the maiden campaign under his belt to try and improve in various aspects, highlighted their main aim would be to attract an even bigger audience this time around.

"For us, the focus has been how we bring the tournament to life. Getting the best fixtures, the best clashes, and the best start times for both our global audience and in particular our local audience," Smith said.

"The fans that are gonna turn on the TVs on a daily basis and coming to the stadiums. Last year, I think around 380 000 tickets sold with what was not a great schedule because we lost three stadiums to the women's world cup. 

So, the fixtures weren't as good this year, only 5:30 [pm] starts on weekdays. Double headers on Saturdays and 3:30 [pm] start on Sundays. So, we think that the schedule this year is suited perfectly for fans and hopefully the cricket will match."

The Proteas had to cancel a one-day series against Australia that clashed with this year's SA20, while next year a Test series against New Zealand is in jeopardy as scheduling issues for Cricket South Africa (CSA) once again take centre-stage.

"No, we've been very clear on our window from the start. We've engaged CSA consistently and we still continue to engage with them. I guess our job at SA20 is to make sure that we elevate our events and make it the best that we possibly can and Cricket South Africa are managing the other side," Smith added.

Smith insists his mandate is to deliver a spectacle in the new T20 competition, while the rest is left to CSA, who, as majority shareholders in the SA20, have no qualm prioritising their cash cow.

"I think Pholetsi [Moseki] has been very clear in his statements and will continue to engage with media on the Cricket South Africa side. Our goal where we are and what we are building is to make sure that we deliver at a really great season too. 

With the fixtures, we got out now, a much better schedule. That's our responsibility to deliver on that and Pholetsi, we'll continue to engage with him and see what the plan and the way forward is."