Proteas batting legend AB de Villiers believes that just like the Indian Premier League (IPL) elevated his game to the next level, the SA20 will do so for young South African players. De Villiers was just 24 years old when he played in the inaugural IPL and was still finding his feet at the international level.
But after sharing a dressing room with the likes of Glenn McGrath, Daniel Vettori, Shoaib Malik and Virender Sehwag at the Delhi Daredevils, De Villiers was transformed from a precocious talent to a global superstar in the years to come.
Now in his first stint as a television commentator for SuperSport at the SA20, De Villiers is seeing first-hand the amount of young local talent South African cricket has to offer. He has picked young Sunrisers Eastern Cape opener Jordan Hermann as the opening batter to watch.
He believes the experience of playing with world-renowned coaches such as Lance Klusener (Durban's Super Giants), Stephen Fleming (Joburg Super Kings), Simon Katich (MI Cape Town), Graham Ford (Pretoria Capitals), JP Duminy (Paarl Royals) and Adrian Birrell (Sunrisers Eastern Cape) will elevate South Africa's promising cricketers to the next level.
"It is difficult to explain the value of youngsters spending time with some of the best players and coaches in the world," De Villiers said following the first half of the League matches.
"I had that experience in 2008 in my very first IPL. I found myself in the same dressing room as Glenn McGrath, Dan Vettori, Shoaib Malik, Viru Sehwag the list goes on. The impact that had on my game was immense.
You saw my game grow from 2008 onwards and I took it to the next level," De Villiers was quoted as saying by the broadcasters on Friday. "And it was largely because of that. Spending time with experienced campaigners from different countries."
After watching the action closely, De Villiers has, of course, kept a close eye on young prodigy, MI Cape Town's Dewald Brevis, but has also identified young Sunrisers Eastern Cape opener Jordan Hermann as a player to watch.
Hermann, 21, was a late addition to the Sunrisers' squad after being called up as a wildcard. De Villiers also offered to assist Hermann in his development so the youngster to fulfil his immense potential.
"At the top of my head among the batters is Jordan Hermann. I didn't even know about him before the tournament to be honest. I heard his name once, and then I watched him bat, and I was really impressed," the former Proteas captain said.
"I would love to work with these batters. I really have a lot of passion regarding that. You have to evolve as a player. If you stagnate you will end up not enjoying the game. I think there need to be constant check-ups.
I think that's what kept me fresh. I always wanted to raise the bar every single season until the very end."