Legendary South Africa batter AB de Villiers, believes the upcoming SA20 hopes to do amazing things which leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL) have done to specific cricketing nations. The inaugural SA20, featuring six teams, will start from January 10 at Newlands with the opening match between MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals.
All six teams in the tournament are owned by IPL franchises. "I think the SA20 comes at a really good time for South African cricket. We have seen the amazing things that these leagues have done to cricket in particular nations.
To give our youngsters this base and the foundation to get exposure at the highest level against the best players in the world is what it's all about," De Villiers was quoted as saying by the tournament. Among the youngsters that De Villiers will be keeping a close eye on is MI Cape Town's young batting sensation, Dewald Brevis.
The 19-year-old has been a revelation since bursting on the scene during the ICC Men's Under-19 World Cup earlier this year when he shattered Shikhar Dhawan's tournament record for the most runs in the tournament.
He has since carried this form into the IPL, where he played for Mumbai Indians, followed by the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and most notably in Cricket South Africa's T20 Challenge competition when he blasted 162 off just 57 balls.
De Villiers, who featured in the IPL since its start in 2008 till 2021, believes Brevis' development will be greatly aided by playing alongside England's T20 World Cup winners such as Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone in the same way he learnt from grizzled veterans such as Australian superstar Glenn McGrath when he first joined the IPL in 2008.
"It was a huge occasion for me and a lot of the other players. The start of the IPL changed our lives. The people are really passionate about cricket. Not only with the home team but they support members in other teams as well."
"The biggest thing that stands out for me are the people that I met. I think of Glenn McGrath and the time I spent with him. He was this hard guy and all of a sudden I am sitting with him in the changeroom and having a beer with him."
De Villiers was also full of praise for his former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who in his role as SA20 League commissioner, has ensured South Africa will also now have a T20 league to rival the best in the world.
"Graeme and I have come a long way together, and to have him right at the top of SA cricket right now, making a lot of good calls, and changing things. The SA20 I don't think it would have been possible if it weren't for him and all his connections and experience. I think we all owe Graeme a real thank you for bringing this big tournament to SA."