Johannesburg - CSA on Monday unveiled the New Age Impi as the new seventh team to take part in this season’s MiWAY T20 Challenge.
The New Age Impi squad will have former Proteas’ assistant coach Vinnie Barnes as head coach, will have the High Performance Centre in Pretoria as its training base and will play its home matches at Sahara Park Willowmoore.
Barnes and fellow national selector Corrie van Zyl have named former England T20 captain Paul Collingwood as the captain and he is one of four players CSA will be recruiting for their squad from overseas in terms of the rules and regulations for this competition.
Ryan ten Doeschate, one of the top players from the Netherlands who is ranked among the top 20 batsmen on the ICC Reliance Mobile ODI rankings, has also been recruited and negotiations are well advanced for two more high profile international players.
“We are most grateful to The New Age for the support they have shown for this new venture and I am sure their confidence will be rewarded as the tournament unfolds,” commented Majola. “The launch of this new franchise is a very important moment for our domestic cricket as it will give more opportunities for players to perform at the highest domestic level and push for inclusion in the Proteas’ squad.
“We feel that this initiative is essential as there are talented players coming through our development system into the talent pipeline, who could either be lost overseas or to the game altogether if we do not create opportunities for them.
“I would also like to thank The New Age for what they have done to make it possible for us to recruit four high quality overseas players. Their support has been critical in this regard.”
The New Age Media CEO Nazeem Howa commented: “Innovation is the name of the game at The New Age, so when the opportunity to own the seventh team came we had no hesitation in making an offer.
“The New Age Impi gives us an innovating marketing thrust to follow on our trend-setting business briefings. To us it seemed logical that while the Business Briefings are aimed at connecting political leaders and ordinary people, the team gives us an opportunity to connect some really talented cricketers with up and coming players, broadening our connection to our diverse society.
“The team has some exciting youngsters and truly embraces transformation, giving these players the opportunity to play against the best in the T20 format. The New Age Impi will include some really talented players whom we believe will develop these younger players into match winners. We have invested in this team as cricket's following is amongst the widest in South Africa and we hope to use this platform to take the game to the masses.”
Coach Vinnie Barnes commented: “This is a very exciting development for South African cricket and it has been an eye-opener to see how much talent there is in our provincial ranks. We could not possibly have found a better captain than Paul Collingwood. He is a world champion in his own right, having led England to victory in the most recent edition of the ICC World Twenty20.
“Nobody will forget the battles he had with Dale Steyn during England’s last tour here in 2009/10 when he topped both their test and ODI batting averages.
“Ryan is another top talent who scored centuries against both England and Ireland at last year’s ICC World Cup.”
Captain Paul Collingwood commented: “I am really looking forward to captaining The New Age Impi in South Africa during the local T20 competition and working alongside the head coach, Vinnie Barnes. It is a completely new franchise, new team, new group of players playing together for the first time ever but I am confident we will gel as a unit and be very competitive in this year’s competition.”
Note: An Impi is an isiZulu word for any armed body of men. However, in English it is often used to refer to a Zulu regiment, which is called an ibutho in isiZulu.
The New Age Impi:
Paul Collingwood (England, capt), Ryan ten Doeschate (Netherlands), Adrian McLaren (Griquas), Dominic Hendricks (Lions), Richard Cameron (Strikers), Cobus Pienaar (Easterns),Charl Pietersen (Griquas), Khaya Zondo (Dolphins), Siya Simetu (Western Province), Beuran Hendricks (Cobras), Craig Alexander (Lions), Pumelela Matshikwe (Lions), Ryan Canning (Western Province) plus two overseas players still to be named.