London - When Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw dropped a huge bombshell on the Proteas at the beginning of the year to announce that they had both signed Kolpak deals, Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Haroon Lorgat spoke about the need for urgent plans to keep the best players in the country.
One of those plans, he said, would be South Africa's new-look, international T20 tournament.
On Monday, that tournament took a significant step when the eight host cities as well as the eight franchise owners were unveiled at a launch in London.
With six of the eight owners international, CSA will be hoping they have hit the jackpot in their attempt to attract as much foreign investment to the tournament as possible.
And while the franchise owners might not have the Proteas' best interests at heart, Test captain Faf du Plessis believes that the tournament provides a significant step in the right direction when it comes to offering local players a sustainable and rewarding career on home soil.
"It was quite important that South Africa looked for different ways to try and keep players in the country," Du Plessis said on Monday.
"I think this is a huge step. Players don't have to look outside anymore. Obviously from an opportunity point of view and also from a financial point of view, a player doesn't need to go overseas."
Du Plessis has been unveiled as the marquee Protea player in the Stellenbosch side - one of the two South African-owned franchises.
The foreign influence on this tournament is undeniable, but only three players in each side can be foreign-based.
That will open the door for South Africa's provincial players and Du Plessis is hopeful that it will put them firmly in the cricketing spotlight.
"The foreign opportunities and the investment they bring into the country will bring a much bigger audience," he said.
"There will be a huge following from Pakistan, India and South Africa. What it creates is more emphasis on cricket in South Africa and especially the domestic players.
"I feel they have been possibly under-looked at times. You always get your international players getting opportunities everywhere in the world, but this will be a great opportunity to put their names out there and get into the IPL."
The next significant date is August 19, when the international marquee players will all be allocated a franchise.
*Sport24 journalist Lloyd Burnard is attending the launch as a guest of CSA...