Twenty20 cricket fever has now also hit the US, with an inaugural American Premier League (APL) series set to take place in New York in October this year, the Afrikaans weekly Rapport said here on Sunday.
Rapport disclosed that former Proteas Nicky Boje, Andrew Hall and Lance Klusener had already been offered lucrative contracts to participate in the APL, which would be modelled on the success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that will be played out in South Africa from the next week.
The three South Africans were banned from participating in South African teams after they became the first local players to sign up for the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) two years ago. The International Cricket Council (ICC) refused to recognise the ICL, with the BCCI launching the IPL in its wake.
Boje, Hall and Klusener, who have jointly represented South Africa in 113 Tests and 374 one-day games, will be in the (American) Premium World Team which will play against Premium India, Premium Bangladesh, Premium Pakistan, Premium Windies and home side Premium America, according to the weekly.
A knockout round, in which each side will play the others once, will be followed by semis and a final consisting of three matches.
The inaugural series of the APL , which will take place twice a year, will be played out in New York from October 6 to 26 and the next one in April 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Like the IPL, the huge interest in the game has brought with it lucrative fees for the players.
The three South Africans have reportedly been offered two-year contracts with a payment of $50,000 per tournament, besides the money that bidders from the various franchises might spend and match money from the games. Players will also be contractually bound to participate in marketing campaigns across the US.
Bidding for the players in the APL sides will take place in the same way as that of the IPL, with players being sold to franchise holders with the highest offer.
IPL supremo Lalit Modi said at the launch of the IPL series in South Africa recently that there was a huge cricket-loving community in the US who had followed the inaugural IPL last year intensely. He also expressed a wish to take the IPL to the US and China in future