Biff: Global League will keep youngsters in SA

Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith believes the T20 Global League will "absolutely" help keep young cricketers in South Africa. 

The tournament, which gets underway on November 3, is South Africa's answer to the IPL and Big Bash and is considered a major tool in Cricket South Africa's attempt to stop the player drain of talented South African players leaving for more lucrative deals abroad. 

Smith, the coach of the Benoni Zalmi franchise, believes that the financial reward for some of the country's young players at the draft on Sunday was unlike anything cricket in the country had seen before.

"There are some young players in there that are getting a cheque that most young players didn't even dream of before," Smith told Sport24.

"A lot of guys' lives have changed today.

"South African domestic cricket is a professional sport and hopefully this will influence players' thinking in that, outside of playing for their country, there are lots of opportunities in the game."

Smith acknowledged that this kind of tournament probably needed to happen in South Africa "a couple of years ago".

"But not it is just great that it has happened," he continued.

"The investment it puts into the game is huge."

Smith has never been the head coach of a side before and he is venturing into new territory, though he does have the experience of Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana to fall back on.

"I think now it becomes a little bit more. You've got your players to work with and you can start your work behind the scenes," he said.

"I'm excited ... there are lots of good youngsters you can work with and hopefully give growth to and benefit South African cricket.

"I've known Geoff for a long time and we have collaborated well."

The Zalmi play their first game of the tournament on November 5 when they take on the Pretoria Mavericks at Centurion. 

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