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Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy are among 11 England players to have signed on for CSA's new T20 league, joining - as ESPNcricinfo reported last week - Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali. English representation is the largest among the direct overseas signings the league has made so far. With 10 players, including Niroshan Dickwella, Sri Lanka is next. English players will also be the best paid. The likes of Buttler and Livingstone can expect to earn US$ 500,000 each to play in the league in January and February next year, while Moeen will be paid $400,000.
On Wednesday, CSA announced that it had signed over 30 marquee names for the league, without identifying them. But ESPNcricinfo has a list of the players signed up.
As expected, there are no Pakistan players on the list. There have been suggestions that they would not be picked because franchises are owned by IPL owners - where Pakistani players have, in effect, been barred. But a league official, while clarifying that the league doesn't get involved in selections, said Pakistan's schedule constraints, where they have home series and then the PSL this year, have played a part in their non-availability.
The list also shows the salaries these players will receive, ranging from $30,000 all the way up to $500,000. That ceiling means that this league is now jostling with the UAE-based ILT20 for the title of cricket's second-most lucrative league behind the IPL. The two leagues are competing for the world's best players and a window in the calendar; the ILT20 has been offering up to $450,000 to top players.
Though it is not yet public, the overall purse for each of the six franchises is expected to be $2 million. But $250,000 will be considered the maximum salary in that purse: any player above that will be paid the full amount but over $250,000 will be considered a marketing cost. In Buttler's case, for example, $250,000 will be his salary as far as the purse is concerned but he will be paid $500,000 - the remaining $250,000 will be part of the league's marketing cost.
Each of the six franchises will have 17-man squads, in which up to five players - three overseas but no two from the same country, one South Africa international player and one uncapped South African player - will be pre-signed. An auction for the remaining spots will be held in the next few weeks. The league is likely to allow four international players in XI, with no other requirements such as transformation targets.
As all franchises in the league are owned by IPL owners, it is likely that there will be an alignment between players who play in the IPL for a franchise, and the corresponding franchise in CSA's league. It is believed, for instance, that Buttler has signed with the Paarl franchise owned by Rajasthan Royals, Holder has signed with the Durban franchise owned by Lucknow Super Giants and Theekshana has signed with the Super Kings-owned Johannesburg franchise.