- Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis hopes the inaugural SA20 will restore the public's interest in cricket.
- This comes after the Proteas were hammered by Australia in the three-match Test series, losing 2-0 despite drawing the final Test in Sydney.
- Du Plessis, who will lead the Joburg Super Kings, believes the new T20 competition can only benefit South African cricket.
Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis hopes the inaugural SA20 will restore the South African public's faith in local cricket.
The SA20 gets under way at Newlands Cricket Ground on Tuesday, with MI Cape Town hosting Paarl Royals in a Western Cape derby.
The inaugural season will feature 33 matches as six co-owned Indian Premier League (IPL) teams vie for R70 million. There will be a week break to fit in the Proteas' three-match ODI series against England.
Du Plessis was pre-signed for the Joburg Super Kings, as he returns to the Super Kings brand after being part of the IPL title-winning Chennai Super Kings for over eight years.
READ | Will SA20 indirectly pep up Proteas' Test batting?
Du Plessis, who retired from Test cricket in 2021, has had to witness the Proteas' disastrous tour to Australia this season, along with the rest of the South African public.
A formidable Australian outfit outplayed Dean Elgar's Test side as South Africa lost the three-match Test series 2-0.
The Proteas top-order batters were placed under scrutiny as they dropped down the World Test Championship reckoning.
Furthermore, the Proteas' Cricket World Cup berth still needs to be confirmed as they need to qualify for October's one-dayer showpiece in India.
ALSO READ | Under-fire Proteas skipper Elgar still has hunger to take Test side forward
Du Plessis will lead the Joburg Super Kings ahead of their opening encounter against the Durban Super Giants on Wednesday at Kingsmead.
Despite the Proteas men's national side being in a dark spot, Du Plessis feels the SA20 can only benefit the game and players in South Africa.
"First and foremost, South Africa is using this competition to grow and there's no doubt that adding world-class players like Rashid Khan and so many more will benefit from the cricket," Du Plessis told reporters on Saturday at an SA20 captain's press conference in Cape Town.
"I talked about management and coaches coming on board. Our whole professional system is going to see and learn a lot from what needs to be done to improve in the standards that we have in our country.
"I think we will only benefit from it. The local players will gain so much from this."
Feeling Faftastic on a Friday??— Joburg Super Kings (@JSKSA20) January 6, 2023
Captain Faf ???#WhistleForJoburg @faf1307 pic.twitter.com/UdQ8vRBeBC
Tuesday's SA20 opening game at Newlands is nearly sold out with only a handful of tickets available at the Western Province Members Pavilion.
60 percent of tickets have already been sold for the Super Kings' first home game on Tuesday, 17 January, against the Pretoria Capitals at the Wanderers.
Du Plessis believes the SA20 can help make fans and critics optimistic about the future of South African cricket.
"From the fan's perspective, cricket is such a followed game in this country, but now it's getting people back to watch the game of cricket," said Du Plessis.
"Yes, people feel like it's a dark time right now. But we know that the support can change so quickly, so hopefully, this competition will make people very optimistic about the future of South African cricket."
Joburg Super Kings face the Durban Super Giants in Durban on Wednesday at 17:30.
Joburg Super Kings squad:
Faf du Plessis, Gerald Coetzee, Maheesh Theekshana, Romario Shepherd, Harry Brook, Janneman Malan, Reeza Hendricks, Kyle Verreynne, George Garton, Alzarri Joseph, Leus Du Plooy, Lewis Gregory, Lizaad Williams, Nandre Burger, Donovan Ferreira, Malusi Siboto, Caleb Seleka