The SA20 kicked off in 2023 in January adding to an increasingly crowded annual cricket schedule. The league was a success, as Sunrisers Eastern Cape won the inaugural league title. Insiders claim the SA20 has saved South African cricket, as fans turned out in droves to watch matches. Television ratings were also strong, with broadcasters outside of South Africa purchasing the rights to air matches.
With the success of season No 1 under the SA20’s belt, organisers are looking ahead to next season. However, there could be competition in the form of a new cricket tournament hitting the annual schedule.
Cricket fans are anticipating the upcoming 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Fans are debating which team will win the tournament in India. Cricket fans and Zambian Bettors can get the latest news on sports betting before signing up for an all-new betting website for the Cricket World Cup.
According to reports from the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper, Saudi Arabia aim to launch a new cricket competition, which could rival the SA20 and other T20 format events. Saudi Arabia has already entered the world of golf with the LIV Tour. It rivals the long-standing PGA Tour, having lured well-known players with large contracts and salaries.
Saudi Arabia has also made waves in the world of football by buying Newcastle United, bringing Cristiano Ronaldo to its domestic league, and signing Lionel Messi as a spokesperson. Now, Saudi is considering the world of high-level cricket.
The Middle Eastern country is investigating a potential T20 cricket tournament. It would be the most lucrative T20 competition in the world. Saudi Arabia will aim to disrupt the world of cricket just like it did with golf and the launch of LIV. Like with Saudi’s other sporting events, organisers will use the event to make the country a destination for sport.
Australian newspapers The Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald claim talks took place between the government of Saudi Arabia and the owners of teams from the Indian Premier League – the largest T20 cricket tournament in the world. The groups discussed the possibility of Indian cricketers being allowed to compete in the competition.
One of the issues a Saudi cricket tournament would face is the current schedule. The SA20 plays in January and February. The Pakistan Super League follows the SA20 in February and March. Once the PSL finishes playing, the IPL starts. Then, there is also the United Kingdom’s Hundred competition in August. Australia’s Big Bash league then takes to the pitch in December and January. The UAE also launched a league in early 2023, with it running from January to February.
The T20 calendar is filled already and adding another competition could force an existing tournament to field lesser-quality squads. Saudi’s spring months of March through May would be ideal for the lucrative tournament. However, on the heels of the SA20 competition, a spring tournament would conflict with the PSL and IPL. The summer months in Saudi Arabia are far too hot for a cricket league.
Currently, the ideal time for an event in Saudi Arabia would be in October, just before the weather gets too cold in the Middle Eastern country. Any additional T20 cricket competitions would likely create clashes with other forms of the sport.