Why Are Pakistani Players Not Invited To The SA20 League?

Cricket South Africa has come up with a new T20 Cricket league of their own named SA20. The tournament is set to commence on January 10, 2023. Six teams will fight for the title. Also, a total of 533 players from different countries were available for the auction. As for the Pakistan cricket fans, it is a big surprise, as none of the Pakistani cricketers were available in the SA20  auction.

Introducing the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 changed the face of cricket. The tournament became an instant global hit within a short time. In addition, the IPL gave other nations the idea to start their T20 leagues.

Cricket Australia launched their league named the Big Bash League. With cricket’s popularity in Australia, it became a hit as well. England Cricket Board began their T20 Vitality Blast league, while Pakistan Cricket came up with their league called the Pakistan Super League. So did Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

SA20: Teams, Owners, and Key Players

Six teams will participate in the inaugural SA20 cricket league. The player’s auction took place on September 19, 2022. All six owners are of Indian origins and are either owners or co-owners of various Indian Premier League (IPL) teams as well. Other team details are as follows: 

1. MI Capetown

Owned by Akaash Ambani, son of Indian billionaire and Reliance Industries owner Mukesh Ambani. They also own one of the most successful Indian Premier League cricket teams, Mumbai Indians. Some of the renowned names on the cricket team list include Kagiso Rabada (RSA), Dewald Bravis (RSA), Rassie Van der Dussen (RSA), Rashid Khan (AFG), and Liam Livingstone.

2. Johannesburg Super Kings

The cricket team is owned by N Srinivasan, who also happens to be the owner of IPL giants Chennai Super Kings. Some of the key players in the team include Faf Du Plessis (RSA), Harry Brook (ENG), Reeza Hendricks (RSA), Mahesh Theekshana (SL), and Janneman Malan (RSA).

3. Durban SuperGiants 

Sanjeev Goenka of the RPSG group is the owner of the cricket team. He is also the owner of the IPL team Lucknow SuperGiants. The key players in the team are Quinton De Kock (RSA), Jason Holder (WI), Reece Topley (ENG), Keshav Maharaj (RSA), and Heinrich Klassen (RSA).

4. Pretoria Capitals

It is co-owned by Parth Jindal and Kiran Kumar Gandhi of the GMR and JSW groups respectively. They also own the IPL team of Delhi Capitals. Some of the notable players in the team include Anrich Nortje (RSA), Rilee Rossouw (RSA), Phil Salt (ENG), James Neeshan (NZ), and Adil Rashid (ENG).

5. Sunrisers Eastern Cape

The team was bought by the owner of the IPL team of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kalanithi Marana from the Sun TV network. Some of the key players in the team include Aiden Markram (RSA), Marco Jansen (RSA), Tristan Stubbs (RSA), Brydon Carse (ENG), and Mason Crane (ENG).

6. Paarl Royals

The team is co-owned by Manoj Badale of the Emerging Media group and Lachlan Murdoch from the Red Bird Capital Partners. They also own the IPL team Rajasthan Royals. The notable players in the team are David Miller (RSA), Jos Buttler (ENG), Lungi Ngidi (RSA), Tabrez Shamsi (RSA), and Jason Roy (ENG).

Why are Pakistan Cricket Players not part of SA20?

Currently, Pakistan cricket has some of the top T20 players in the world. So, their exclusion from the SA20 came as a shock. However, by now, you already know that all the owners of the SA20 league are of Indian origin.

Besides, India is the world’s largest cricket market with a population of 1.40 billion. Ever since the subsequent terror attacks on India like the 2009 Mumbai attacks and the rise in the number of militant activities in Kashmir, the relations between the two countries are at their lowest point.

After the attacks, the Indian government banned all trade with Pakistan, including bilateral cricket series. However, both teams still compete against each other in major ICC tournaments.  

Therefore, including Pakistani players would upset the huge Indian market. To avoid creating any controversy, the SA20 stakeholders don’t want Pakistani players in their teams. Neither the Pakistan Cricket Board nor the SA20 League granted NOCs to players from Pakistan.

A franchise official told Insidesport, “No, we did not consider Pakistani cricket players. There are way too many obstacles to go for Pakistani players. First, it’s a hard negotiation with the Pakistan cricket board to get them on board and allow them NOC. Then, comes the backlash of it. I don’t think any fans in India will be happy with them playing for our teams.”

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