Rob Walter defends timing of T20 Challenge after SA20, during IPL

Rob Walter cricketRob Walter.

Proteas limited-overs coach Rob Walter has defended Cricket South Africa’s decision to stage the T20 Challenge shortly after the SA20.

The 2024 SA20 boasted big crowds, a title sponsor, international and local talent across one month.

This year’s T20 Challenge has been played in front of small crowds since 8 March and will end on Sunday. The tournament has been without several Proteas stars, who have instead been playing in the Indian Premier League.

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Having the guys playing is a win in itself. There’s a significant number of guys in the IPL, some playing and some not. But there are also some guys who will be part of the T20 World Cup squad who are in SA, so for them to be playing competitively is a big help,” BusinessLIVE quoted Walter as saying.

“It’s not as competitive as the SA20, but it’s still better to have them playing than doing nothing for two months. The standard can be discussed, but they’ve still got to go out there and perform. If the standard is lower, the performances of the top players need to stand out, they need to show that they are the best.”

The Lions and Titans will contest Wednesday’s first T20 Challenge semi-final at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The Dolphins and Warriors will play the second semi-final at Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday.

“There is, potentially, some influence on the T20 World Cup squad, here and there, so the T20 Challenge has been important in that regard,” added Walter.

“I’m wearing my coach’s hat, so I can’t see any negatives with having the players on the field. It might not be the best time of year for people to go and watch, but I’m pleased to have everyone playing.”

The Proteas will travel to the Caribbean and United States of America for the T20 World Cup later this year.

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