Brendan Taylor set for windfall after deferred SA Global T20 League
By Robson Sharuko
Harare – When former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor ended his two-and-half adventure in English county cricket for the comforts of home, and more time with his young family, he probably did not know his first big cheque could come without even facing a ball in a tournament that was billed to be South Africa’s version of the Indian Premier League.
But that is what is exactly going to happen after a deal was struck between representatives of more than 100 international cricketers and Cricket South African authorities this week for players, who were set to play in the inaugural Global T20 League, before it was moved to next year.
Taylor, who is now back to represent Zimbabwe after saying being close to his young family – which remained holed up in Harare while he played for Nottinghamshire in Leeds – was weighing down heavily on his conscience, was one of the international players who had signed up to play in the South African Global T20 League.
His former Nottinghamshire teammate, Alex Hayles who opens the batting for England in limited overs cricket, had also signed to play in the tournament, which was supposed to start last month.
A number of high-profile international cricketers, including West Indies explosive opening batsman Chris Gayle, had also committed themselves to playing in the tournament in South Africa.
However, the Global T20 League ran into turbulence ahead of its expected launch amid reports that organisers had failed to secure a television broadcasting partner to help them underwrite some of the huge bills related to running such a tournament.
They were then forced to postpone the tournament to next year but, given that a host of cricketers had already committed themselves to playing in the tournament, the postponement left them in limbo and issues related to their compensation cropped up.
Cricket South Africa replaced the scheduled Global T20 tournament with their domestic Ram Slam T20 tourney.
But, while the domestic South African tournament ensured that the home players could, at least, find something to do during the window that had been set aside for the Global T20 International, a lot of international crickets found themselves in limbo.
Hayles is even thought to have travelled to Zimbabwe for a holiday adventure with his former Nottinghamshire teammate Taylor with pictures emerging of them having fun fishing and drinking on the Kariba Dam.
Now, the players who had signed for the Global T20 International- both the locals and the internationals – will now get a payout from the doomed tournament this year.
According to the deal, the players will receive three equal payments starting this month for the tournament that was never played this year.
The last payment is expected in April next year.
Taylor, who led Zimbabwe at the last ICC Cricket World Cup in New Zealand and Australia where he scored back-to-back centuries against Ireland and lndia in his last two limited overs innings for his country, is one of the players set for a big pay cheque.
“This was an issue affecting 138 South African and foreign players and we’re very happy that we’ve been able to resolve it for all of them,” Tony Irish, the chief executive of the South African Cricketers Association, said.
“The settlement is both fair and responsible and has been well received by the players.
“I would like to thank Cricket South Africa for its role in ensuring this outcome.”
The payment deal means the bond of trust, which is very key in maintaining relations between the South African cricket authorities and international cricketers for the sake of next year’s proposed launch of the tournament, is unlikely to be broken.
The South African cricket chiefs and their sponsors, together with the franchise owners, will still need the commitment of some international superstars for the tournament to not only go ahead next year but do as well as intended.
“I would like to thank South African Cricketers Association for the amicable manner in which this issue was settled in the best interest of South African cricket and the sustainability of its development of international cricket programmes,” Cricket South Africa acting chief executive Thabang Moroe said.
“The settlement will help bridge the game between player expectations and the disappointment of having to postpone the league.
“Our players are key stakeholders in the game and are also Cricket South Africa’s most valuable assets which is why we invest heavily in their development programmes to produce our best possible national side.”
Taylor is now playing in the Zimbabwe Cricket domestic league programme where his class has already told, given he has a century to his credit.
He is expected to be part of the Zimbabwe team set to make history when they take on South Africa in an historic four-day Test set to start on Boxing Day.