Many fans and critics could argue that Cricket South Africa needs to be more forward-thinking when it comes to global partnerships and tapping into valuable resources abroad.
South African franchises don’t need to go it along any longer, as mutually beneficial arrangements with counterparts in the United Kingdom, Australia and other parts of the world start to emerge.
The recent announcement that the Cape Cobras will partner with Leicestershire County Cricket Club, as part of the latter’s Global Club Cricket Network, is testament to this.
Leicestershire want to share best practice measures and commercial knowledge. The Cobras could do with this kind of input at an operational and cricketing level.
“We feel honoured to be the first club to join the Running Foxes’ innovative new network. It’s a great opportunity to link up with a UK-based club. We also share similar values around embracing diversity and coaching younger talent to become world-class cricket professionals, so it’s a really good fit for us,” said Cape Cobras brand and sponsorship manager David Brooke.
Leicestershire County Cricket Club chief executive officer Sean Jarvis added: “At Leicestershire we’re really committed to developing the club’s role within the professional game. By learning and sharing knowledge between other clubs in our network we can progress within the game and broaden our horizons within the business of sport.”
The Cape Cobras are a South African cricket franchise synonymous with title success. They have produced a slew of Proteas, most recently Nandre Burger, Janneman Malan, Kyle Verreynne and George Linde.
Cobras markets and events are popular on betting sites in South Africa. They are priced at 2.12 with Supabets to beat the Lions in the opening match of the 2020-21 One-Day Cup, for instance. For another example, Hollywood bets have the Cape-based side offered at 1.15 to beat the team from Gauteng. This is always a key tussle, whether it’s played at Newlands or the Wanderers.
Having produced several international cricketers in the past, such as Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs and many more, the Cobras want their legacy to continue locally and globally. This relationship with Leicestershire should go a long way in making sure this happens.
“We have a very proud tradition at the Cape Cobras, being one of the most successful franchises in the history of South African domestic cricket and having produced international players such as Graeme, Gibbs, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Richard Levi, Rory Kleinveldt, to name just a few. To share knowledge with our friends in the UK is something which can only benefit our organisation going forward,” concluded Cape Cobras chief executive officer Albertus Kennedy.
Representation of the Cobras brand has been evidenced by several players. Gibbs has followed a successful playing career with a few stints as head coach around the world, including in Sri Lanka’s Lanka Premier League and the Pakistan Super League. He has also coached the Serbian national team.
Names like Levi and Kleinveldt are well known to Leicestershire, who came up against Northamptonshire’s Cobras pair time and time again in the County Championship and T20 Blast.
Of course, Claude Henderson spent several seasons with Leicestershire on the back of a lengthy period with the Cobras. He also played seven Tests and four ODIs for South Africa as a frontline spinner.
Whether other South African cricket franchises like the Dolphins, Warriors, Knights and Titans – or other brands from around the world – follow the Cobras’ suit remains in the balance. The invite is undoubtedly there.
“This is the beginning of an exciting new network that will benefit everyone in cricket. We are keen for other clubs around the world to join us to create a global cricket community which helps to shape the future of the game,” finished Jarvis.
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