Cricket South Africa announced that a Tri-nations T20 Series will be held next year, featuring South Africa, Australia and India.
T20 continues to be the fastest growing brand in the cricketing world, with more and more of the action packed, fast paced, form of the game being demanded by audiences, TV and sponsors, if not the players themselves. The business of sport has made this growth inevitable, even if purists see it as encroaching on the Test and 50 over cricket. But make no mistake, sport is a business, and in the end money will win, and T20 will continue its rapid growth. There was a time, perhaps in the amateur days, with cricket, and sport in general, was about competition and entertainment. Those aspects still exists, but these days there is the business of sport, and the business of entertainment, where huge amounts of money, especially in India with respect to cricket, will form the basis of choosing a direction for the sport. All of this means that next years already crowded international cricket schedule, one that includes a South Africa v Australia series, a South Africa v England series, an Ashes series, the T20 World Cup in England, the IPL, a Champions League for domestic T20 winners, and a date and perhaps venue for the postponed ICC Champions Trophy still to be found, will now need to make room for a T20 Tri nations Series.
The model for the series is yet to be finalised, but is thought to be similar to the Tri Nations Rugby series, featuring South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, where the three teams play each other both home and away. This years Tri Nations Rugby saw each team play 3 games at home and 3 away.
One potential problem that the series will have to overcome is the ICC’s regulations for international T20 games, which says that each country can only play 7 T20 matches a year.
In the end money will speak louder then those worried about over exposure and too much cricket, and the series should go ahead. The inclusion of India in the series means that incoming money will be at a maximum for a cricket series, and this will be the motivation to get the series the green light.
It has not yet been stated whether or not this is a planned annual series, like the rugby edition, but cricket fans should have more cricket to look forward to next year. T20 is expanding, and the entertainment should be growing too.