Johannesburg - On November 3, South Africa’s cricketing fraternity will embark on a 44-day whirlwind journey as the first T20 Global League begins.
Cricket SA’s answer to India and Australia’s hugely successful T20 leagues (IPL and BBL), the T20 GL will feature a combination of Proteas players, as well as international and emerging players.
With teams spending more than R93 million at the player draft last Sunday, most teams seem to have struck their desired player balance, each spending R11.7 million.
Each of the eight franchises will have a squad of 18 players and a maximum of five internationals, while the starting XI must have at least one domestic rookie and a maximum of four internationals.
A total of 57 matches will be played in five provinces, with each franchise playing a home and an away game against every franchise. The final will be held on December 16 at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
Name: Benoni Zalmi
Owner: Javed Afridi
Protea marquee player: Quinton de Kock
International marquee player: Jason Roy (England)
Coach: Graeme Smith
Home ground: Willowmoore Park, Benoni
Zalmi, a Pashto word meaning ‘youth’, has enlisted the services of three Pakistani players, namely wicket-keeper/batsman Umar Akmal, bowler Wahab Riaz and all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz. But it is the youthful batting of Roy who will grab the headlines. This year, Roy has averaged 30 at a strike-rate of 153, recording seven half-centuries. With former Proteas captain Smith as head coach, the team will have his experience and strategy (as much as can be expected in a T20) to draw on.
Name: Bloem City Blazers
Owner: Sushil Kumar
Protea marquee player: David Miller
International marquee player: Kieron Pollard (West Indies)
Coach: Phil Simmons (West Indies)
Home ground: Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
Owned in part by Hong Kong-based City Group, the Blazers will look to ambassador and bowling mentor Allan “White Lightning” Donald to help them set the league ablaze. They will also have the services of the hard-hitting all-rounder Pollard, who has excelled in the IPL and Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The experienced cricketer has played 384 T20 matches at a batting average of 30 and a strike-rate of just over 150. His bowling strike-rate means that he also takes a wicket every 17 balls. The Blazers will also have the league’s youngest player, 18-year-old left-arm fast bowler Akhona Mnyaka.
Name: Cape Town Knight Riders
Owner: Shah Rukh Khan
Protea marquee player: JP Duminy
International marquee player: Chris Gayle (West Indies)
Coach: Jacques Kallis
Home ground: Newlands, Cape Town
Bollywood megastar and team owner Shah Rukh Khan adds a third T20 team to his list of global acquisitions. With the Kolkata Knight Riders (IPL) and Trinbago Knight Riders (CPL), Khan now adds this team to his cap. With the self-proclaimed Universe Boss Gayle in their ranks, the team is set to reach for the stars.
Name: Durban Qalandars
Owner: Fawad Rana
Protea marquee player: Hashim Amla
International marquee player: Eoin Morgan (England)
Coach: Paddy Upton
Home ground: Kingsmead, Durban
The Qalanders, on paper at least, seem to have a batting-heavy line-up with Amla, Morgan, Chris Morris and Pakistan sensation Fakhar Zaman leading the charge. Amla’s two centuries earlier this year at the IPL will most certainly whet appetites, with fans hoping he can reprise that form. Mitchell McClenaghan and Morris will most likely lead the bowling department, but with the talent and recent form of Junior Dala, the Durban-based side will feel confident that they have the right mix.
Name: Jo’burg Giants
Owner: GMR Group
Protea marquee player: Kagiso Rabada
International marquee player: Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)
Coach: Sridharan Sriram (India)
Home ground: The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
South Africa’s iconic Bullring will play host to the Jo’burg Giants, led by the destructive duo of Proteas speedster Rabada and the brutal McCullum. Rabada is arguably one of the best bowlers around and, at 22 with only 36 T20 matches under his belt, he has a decent average of 23 and a healthy economy of 7.70. McCullum’s destructive batting mentality at the top of the order is renowned and was again proven in his final international game when he recorded the fastest century (54 balls) in test matches.
Name: Nelson Mandela Bay Stars
Owner: Ajay Sethi
Protea marquee player: Imran Tahir
International marquee player: Kevin Pietersen (England)
Coach: Mark Boucher
Home ground: St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
South Africa’s favourite son to hate, Pietersen, will turn out for the Stars in Port Elizabeth. Since his very public axing from the England national set-up, Pietersen has been a T20 superstar playing for 10 T20 outfits worldwide. The Eastern Cape franchise has also roped in two local legends as their ambassadors, the Mdingi Express, Makhaya Ntini, and renowned former batting great, Graeme Pollock. The Stars also lay claim to South Africa’s only bowler in the ICC T20 rankings, Tahir.
Name: Pretoria Mavericks
Protea marquee player: AB de Villiers
International marquee player: Dwayne Bravo (West Indies)
Coach: Russell Domingo
Home ground: SuperSport Park, Centurion
The only South Africa-owned franchise in the league, the Mavericks will have superstar batsman De Villiers at the helm. In T20 leagues around the world, De Villiers has racked up 3 738 runs at an average of 38.9 and a strike-rate of just under 150. The country’s capital also boasts former Proteas coach Domingo and two legendary Proteas in support, namely Lance Klusener and Neil McKenzie.
Name: Stellenbosch Monarchs
Owner: Preity Zinta
Protea marquee player: Faf du Plessis
International marquee player: Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)
Coach: Stephen Fleming (New Zealand)
Home ground: Boland Park, Paarl
After South African company Brimstone Investment pulled out as team owner citing financial difficulties, the Monarchs have been run by CSA, whose chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, said they had received numerous offers for ownership, including from a local-based outfit. Another interesting point is that the team will not play in Stellenbosch, but about 30km north in Paarl’s R32 million newly refurbished Boland Park. With all this uncertainty, the stability that Proteas captain Du Plessis brings to the game will certainly help in their quest for the crown.