South Africa is set to get a T20 Premier League of its own after the board was presented with a proposal for an eight-team tournament, which will run separately to other domestic cricket in the country. If approved, the competition will begin in the 2017-18 season and will take place in November-December, with a final pencilled in for December 16, a public holiday in South Africa.
Should the new tournament become a reality, it would drastically alter South Africa's twenty-over landscape, which is languishing behind other countries. While the IPL, BBL, CPL, BPL, PSL and NatWest T20 Blast continue to attract big names, South Africa's Ram Slam competition has struggled to do the same. The weak Rand and the scheduling - which often coincides with international cricket, including fixtures played by South Africa - are to blame.
CSA intended to fix the second of those this season, when, in February, they moved a Test against Sri Lanka to ensure South African internationals could be available for the Ram Slam. But, when the domestic fixtures were announced in June it emerged that several players will be unavailable for that tournament because they will be playing Test cricket in Australia, meaning the 2016-17 Ram Slam will not be too dissimilar to its predecessors.
There will be at least one big name, with Kevin Pietersen signing for Dolphins for the second season in succession. South Africa's domestic twenty-over tournaments have had a small selection of players of Pietersen's profile involved, mostly from the Caribbean. In previous seasons, Chris Gayle played for Dolphins, Kieron Pollard for Cobras, Sohail Tanvir for Lions, Andre Russell for Knights, and Darren Sammy for Titans, but the domestic transformation targets and the small number of franchise teams make it difficult to attract more big names.
For that reason, there has been talk of an expansion into eight franchises, which CSA is mulling across all formats, but it is likely to be implemented in this new T20 event first. Details regarding the funding of the competition are yet to be revealed.