Tuesday, July 16, 2024

SA20 League: Graeme Smith lauds Proteas men’s performance at ICC T20 World Cup

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Photo Credit: SA20 League

League Commissioner, Graeme Smith has praised the performance of the Proteas Men’s team after the recently-concluded ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and noted the increased positivity around South African cricket, both locally and internationally.

The Proteas lost narrowly to India in a worthy Final. And Smith wished to congratulate the team.

“We at Betway SA20 are proud of the Proteas’ achievements at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup,” Smith said.

“From the outset, the League, alongside Cricket South Africa, has wanted to provide South African cricketers with the opportunity to be exposed to a higher level of domestic cricket where the players are able to rub shoulders and learn from some of the best the game has to offer.

“Coupled with a unique fan experience that has brought the cricket-loving public back to our stadiums to support our heroes on the field, there is now a bridge that joins provincial and international cricket.

“Players are exposed to high-pressure and competitive cricket and this experience stood them in good stead in the US and Caribbean.”

He was particularly pleased to see the leading wicket-taker in the history of Betway SA20 Ottniel Baartman having made his debut at a global showpiece and excelling.

“Ottniel is the epitome of a Betway SA20 success story. A relatively unknown player before Betway SA20 that has transformed and grown in confidence due to experiences with the Sunrisers Eastern Cape is phenomenal,” Smith said.

“Despite playing in his very first T20 World Cup, he backed his skills under immense pressure. The four wickets against the Netherlands and the last over against Nepal definitely stands out.”

Smith feels the Proteas’ results in the US and Caribbean plays directly into the hands of Betway SA20’s overall objectives.

“People can be positive about cricket in the country again. These are things that are important to us. Smith said.

“Together with Cricket South Africa, we are committed to continuing to provide opportunities and platforms for our players to excel and inspire the next generation of cricketing talent in South Africa.

“Hopefully we have played a role in benefiting South African cricket through the SA20. It has been encouraging to hear players’ positive comments about the League throughout the T20 World Cup, with players crediting the opportunity it has created to contribute to South Africa’s cricketing talent.”

Smith also wished to congratulate Proteas’ Men’s T20 captain Aiden Markram on his superb leadership skills during the tournament.

“Aiden was particularly good during the tournament. He was tactically astute, had good plans and was brave enough to make the big calls and then get all his players to commit to it,” said Smith.

“We have of course seen Aiden captain in this manner before over the course of the past two Betway SA20 seasons, leading the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to back-to-back championship titles, but now he has transferred this experience to the international arena.

The entire Proteas T20 World Cup squad is due to participate in Season 3 of South Africa’s premier T20 cricket competition, which will commence on 9th January until 8th February 2025.

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