SA20 “In excellent position to become the second best T20 League”: Robin Peterson, MI Cape Town General Manager at NDTV

Cricket South Africa’s main T20 competition kicks off on January 10 next year and six teams — MI Cape Town, Durban Super Giants, Johannesburg Super Kings, Paarl Royals, Pretoria Capitals and SunRisers Eastern Cape will compete in the tournament. All six franchises have owners who have teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the league is being touted as the next big thing in terms of T20 cricket. With only 90 days to go before the competition, former South African spinner Robin Peterson, who is also CEO of MI Cape Town, spoke to NDTV about what to expect from the tournament.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement around the new league. That’s on everyone’s lips, I definitely feel guys are trying to improve their skill level. That’s why this league will be so great for South Africa. I think the domestic players, should increase their achievement level and there is a good reward when they do I think everyone is excited not just from the players point of view Even people are excited about when the party comes to town I think people are starving by cricket,” Peterson told NDTV.

“I think this is the first year that fans are allowed to enter stadiums. It seems the timing is perfect. I expect it to be a good tournament. Cricket South Africa needed something to give cricket an injection in this country, so it’s definitely something we’re looking forward to,” he added.

MI Cape Town has built a strong squad for the upcoming competition as they have Kagiso Rabada, Dewald Brevis, Rashid Khan, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Rassie van der Dussen and Olly Stone on their squad. The game will be coached by Simon Katich, while former Proteas batter Hashim Amla will be the batting coach.

“I think we should talk about the success of Mumbai Indians first, they are probably one of the biggest franchises in the world in terms of cricket. Their relationship with Cape Town is good. I think the city of Cape Town has a huge fan following in terms of the sport I expect people to be behind the team Mumbai Indians are definitely interested in helping the Cape Town cricket community I think I am involved with MI Cape Town I have played with them as a player I always have my ties I’ve had with them even when I wasn’t playing. I think it’s a great relationship,” said Peterson.

“MI has a history of attacking cricket and that speaks a lot for cricket in Cape Town. Hopefully that relationship can grow and we can do something special. I think everyone is competitive. Every team has match winners and that’s the beauty of this tournament. I don’t think you can pick a favourite. On paper everyone has match winners. I wouldn’t say we are necessarily the best team on paper. We have chosen a balanced team and the side that speaks to the style of play that MI has adopted.” he added.

Speaking further about SA20 as a league, Peterson said: “I think if you look at our player base, it’s second to none. It’s a good idea that we have the cricket culture to produce talent. We have the facilities, we know how we have to run events in this country we are definitely in a great position to be the second best T20 league in the world the time is perfect I really feel South Africa is in a great position to become the second best league after the IPL.”

“You just have to look at the people involved in this league, every major IPL franchise is involved here. That speaks volumes, it gives good advice for the future of the tournament. Give it 1-2 years, I think that it’s a no-brainer that this will be the second best league in the world. I think what will make this league stand out is the talent,” he added.

Peterson added more to his argument: “I think the product is already good from the point of view of the local players. If you add the international flavor, it can take it to another level. We are in a wonderful time zone to game in different time zones. I think everything contributes to having a successful tournament. From year 3 you will see a lot more big international players who want to be a part of this tournament.”

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