Despite understandable concerns about T20 ‘overkill’ with the inception of the Champions League comprising domestic teams from India, Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, there is a small but nonetheless undeniable sense of excitement building as the tournament approaches hot on the heels of the ICC Champions Trophy.
Each team is preparing in it’s own way but all 12 teams – motivated by the prospect of more prize money than any has ever won or even played for before – are taking it very, very seriously indeed.
None more so than the Cape Cobras who have left no stone unturned – and no air-ticket unbought – to ensure they have as many Franchise people as possible in India to give the players as much support as they can muster.
The Champions League is paying for the costs of a 15-man playing squad for all 12 teams in addition to the expenses of five management and coaching staff. Every team, of course, has made use of all 20 places with a variety of coaches, managers, physiotherapists, fitness and conditioning gurus and video analysts.
The Gestetner Diamond Eagles have limited their travelling party to the recommended 20.
Such is the determination of the Cobras to make a success of the inaugural league, however, that they are preparing to dip into their own pockets to pay for another seven administrators – on top of the five coaching staff – to be on hand in India.
Making light of what many might regard as a potentially crippling debt which has risen from R32 million to R39 million in the last five years, the Newlands based franchise remains admirably determined to be counted amongst the major players in world domestic cricket and, to that end, has decided on an ‘all hands to the wheel’ approach.
Chief executive Andre Odendaal, reinvigorated and inspired by his recent R20,000+ monthly pay rise, and keen to make an impression incase his request for a fully paid six-month sabbatical from January to June is granted, has decided to spend the full duration of the tournament with the team – along with the Franchise president, Mohammed Ebrahim.
Also making shorter but no less important visits to the team during the competition will be Cobras selectors Omar Henry and Steve Palframan along with three further board members.
India can be a demanding place to tour, especially for long periods of time, so in the event that any Cobras players feel the strain during the 16 days from start to finish, at least there will be a healthy number of senior counselors to turn to.
If they win the tournament then the extra investment will have been well worth it for the winner’s cheque of $1million. They should even be able to pay of some of the debt which, at the moment, costs them a staggering R500,000 per month in interest alone.
We wish them – all of them – the very best of luck.
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