MiWay T20 Challenge
Ackerman lauds T20's impact
Johannesburg - Former SA cricketer and television commentator HD Ackerman says 20-over cricket has changed the face of cricket and widened its appeal.
"It's regarded as entertainment now and brought a new market to the game," said Ackerman, speaking at Kyalami on Thurday where SuperSport were showcasing their "Entertainment beyond Limits" for the Olympic year ahead.
"Young people are now involved in cricket and females are starting to watch as well.
"They've discovered it's not as boring as they always perceived it to be.
"It's also creating new viewers for the longer versions of the game."
While some senior players have retired from Test cricket, they are extending their careers by playing the 20-over format for different franchises around the world.
"In some aspects, unfortunately, it extends their careers," said Ackerman.
"The introduction of the likes of Chris Gayle and Paul Collingwood is good for the product.
"Gayle is brilliant at the game and it will be a great experience for the Dolphins' guys to have him in their side.
"Collingwood provides the youngsters in the seventh team with the chance to learn from him and gain exposure to a senior player, which they wouldn't normally get.
"But the sad thing for me - if they continue to do this - is if they don't bring in real quality guys who add value on as well as off the field.
"One or two of the signings are depriving our own youngsters an opportunity to prove themselves."
The Dolphins, however, recevied a big blow on Thursday when Gayle was ruled out of the start of their campaign due to a groin injury.
Ackerman felt a big positive aspect to come out of the 20-over cricket was that it had levelled the playing field, remuneration-wise.
"For so many years, cricketers were behind other sports when income was concerned.
"So what it has done certainly is to put cricketers on the map as far as that is concerned.
"And they deserve it, they put in a lot of hard work as much as any other sportsman does.
"Personally, I don't think it will be long before South Africa goes the same route as other countries and franchises properly - like the IPL."