Cape Town - Durban Heat coach Gary Kirsten is excited about what the
Mzansi Super League (MSL) can do for South African cricket, saying it has all
the potential to unearth future stars for the Proteas.
The legendary Protea will be getting his first taste of the action in season
2.0 after being appointed as the team leader at Kingsmead earlier this season.
Kirsten has a glittering CV both as player and coach. He led India to the World
Cup title in 2011 and is also a former South Africa coach. The 51-year-old also
has extensive experience coaching in the Indian Premier League (IPL), whilst he
is also involved in Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL).
“I was encouraged by the competition last year,” Kirsten said.
“I spoke to some
of the overseas players and the general feedback was that the competition was
“That’s good news and now it’s just about taking the learning from the last one
and building on it. It’s going to be a very important competition for South
“It’s an opportunity to bring young talent through, I think IPL have done it
brilliantly the way they’ve used the competition to bring young talent through
that have gone on to play for India.
“I think this competition can play a similar role. For me the success in these
tournaments is the young players that come through and go on to play for South
Kirsten, a man that played nearly 300 games for the Proteas, was speaking at
the Player Draft earlier this month, where he and his coaching team came to
assemble their squad for the 2019 campaign.
He is one of two new coaching faces at the six franchises, replacing Grant
Morgan in Durban. The other is West Indian Donovan Miller, who took over from
interim South Africa Team Director, Enoch Nkwe, at Jozi Stars.
Kirsten said he enjoyed the draft that was held in Soweto but said that their
good squad did not necessarily transform into good results.
“Drafts are always fun. Eventually every team ends up with kind
of a good balanced team, but not necessarily always the players they were
looking for. But that’s what the draft is.
“I’ve been in enough of these things where everyone goes ‘wow great squad’, but
then who plays well and who doesn’t. That’s ultimately what it boils down to.”
His words transform into almost exactly what happened at the Heat last year,
where one of the strongest squads failed to deliver as they ended bottom of the
It is all change on the east coast this time around, where they have two new
marquee players in Andile Phehlukwayo and England ace Alex Hales, whilst the
franchise have also brought in new faces like last year’s winning captain Dane
Vilas from the Stars, Ravi Bopara, rookie Marco Jansen, Malusi Siboto, Wihan
Lubbe and Shaun von Berg.
Kirsten was especially excited about Jansen, a 19-year-old left-arm quick, but
says they worked strategically to sign players for the conditions they were
likely to experience for most of the competition.
“We’ve certainly looked at where we are based,” he added.
“It’s where we’ll be playing half our games, it’s slow wickets, 150-160 scores
and then squeeze with your bowling you know.
“I think we’ve got good variety in our bowling attack. That’s the most
important thing, having that flexibility. We might go two seamers and three
spinners. We’ve got that option, we’ve got all-round options in terms of spin
“We’re happy with what we’ve ended up with for the tournament.”
All MSL games will be played over a five-week period starting on 8 November
with the final scheduled to take place on 16 December.
Durban Heat squad:
Andile Phehlukwayo, Alex Hales (England), David Miller
(retained player), Dane Vilas, Ravi Bopara (England), Keshav Maharaj (retained
player), Kyle Abbott (kolpak, retained player), Khaya Zondo (retained player),
Marco Jansen (rookie), Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee (retained player), Malusi
Siboto, Prenelan Subrayen, Wihan Lubbe, Shaun von Berg.
- Cricket South Africa