Picture: istock
Picture: istock

Next season’s proposed T20 competition could be central to the player retention policy being planned in the wake of a rash of high-profile Kolpak signings.

The tournament will run independently from the country’s other events and is to feature some of global cricket’s biggest stars.

It could also give pause for thought to South Africans looking to join the exodus to England that in less than a week has claimed Kyle Abbott‚ Rilee Rossouw and David Wiese.

Tony Irish‚ the CE of the South African Cricketers’ Association which‚ with Cricket SA‚ are drafting a plan to keep players in the country‚ said throwing money at the problem would not solve it.

"It’s about security but not just financial security‚" Irish said on Wednesday. "It’s a number of issues including the way players are man-managed. That could be a lot better. It’s also a lot about giving players aspiration in the system‚ and I think this global T20 league we are planning is critical to that.

"To have our own‚ really good T20 event‚ like the Big Bash [in Australia], is very important for the retention of our players.

"There’s a financial element to that. But it’s also about aspiration in the system‚ it’s about giving the players something that they really want to play in within the system in front of bigger crowds‚ something that’s broadcast around the world."

Irish’s position is complicated by the fact that he is also the executive chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations.

"It is a bit of a balance because we definitely stand for player opportunity in all the players’ associations around the world‚" he said. "But the recognition of the importance of international cricket and the role it plays and trying to make that as strong as possible is still a very big priority for us.

"Our player base is not just the guys who are able to get opportunities to play around the world‚ whether those are Kolpak opportunities or T20 league opportunities.

"We act for 250 players here in SA and the players’ associations around the world represent hundreds of players in their systems."

For Titans CEO Jacques Faul‚ who is also a lawyer and a former acting CEO of Cricket SA ‚ money was the best motivating factor among the limited options SA had for hanging on to their players.

"Your first intervention would be limiting the number of Kolpak players [in SA’s domestic competitions]‚ although I wonder if that’s not challengeable‚" Faul said.

"There are only a few ways in which you can retain people. One is contractual‚ so you sign them for the duration of a contract that you can extend.

"Legally you bind them. But that eventually runs out and players can refuse to sign it."

Tackling the problem by abolishing racial quotas — which cricket’s Trumpist right wing blame when a white player signs a Kolpak deal — "doesn’t make sense".

But he warned against alienating players who had taken up Kolpak deals from playing in SA.

TMG Digital

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