Franchise T20 scriptwriters get it right
Whoever writes the scripts for the franchise T20 tournament knows what they’re doing.
A full slate‚ for the duration‚ of players who are rarely seen at this level.…
A contingent of Kolpak heroes or villains — you choose — to add spice to the mix …
A kerfuffle over a different competition that hasn’t happened and perhaps never will …
A sponsor swooping where others might fear to tread …
And we haven’t seen a ball bowled yet.
We will‚ weather permitting‚ when the Warriors host the Knights under St George’s Park’s ridiculously effective new lights on Friday.
You couldn’t buy this kind of pre-publicity no matter how much marketing money you threw at an event that‚ normally‚ is tacked on at the burnt out end of South Africa’s summer.
This time‚ those embarrassing television ads that sell cricket as an activity commonly found at rock concerts or‚ worse‚ as war‚ have been sideswiped by real news — and that translates into exponentially more interest.
Friday’s match pits a side who have no current national players against a team who bristle with David Miller‚ Theunis de Bruyn and Marchant de Lange.
The Knights’ De Lange is‚ of course‚ among the Kolpak kids‚ as are the Warriors’ Colin Ingram and Colin Ackermann — and Simon Harmer.
Kyle Abbott might have been an interesting part of that equation. Instead he is in Bangladesh‚ where he is playing for the Khulna Titans to help pay for his groceries.
All except Ackermann wore South Africa’s colours once upon a time‚ which is a compelling sub-plot on its own.
The Knights’ Miller‚ fresh from smashing the fastest T20 international century off 35 balls‚ will hog more than his share of the spotlight.
He will know that the Warriors attack is better than the Bangladeshis he smote to all parts in Potch last month.
On Sunday‚ in a double-header in Centurion‚ the Cobras taking on the Dolphins will precede the Titans playing the Lions.
Or‚ if you like‚ the Cobras’ Richard Levi and Stiaan van Zyl will see how how far they can hit the bowling of the Cobras’ Andile Phehlukwayo and Imran Tahir before AB de Villiers does a dazzling dance at the crease for the Titans.
Not that the Lions are going to allow De Villiers to foxtrot as he sees fit.
“We are very ready to head into the shortest format of the game‚” Lions captain Aaron Phangiso was quoted as saying in a release on Thursday.
“My team is hungry and having the likes of Kagiso Rabada‚ Dwaine Pretorius and Bjorn Fortuin in your bowling arsenal is a dream for any captain.
“Add to that the batting skills of Rassie van der Dussen‚ Mangaliso Mosehle and we have everything we need to challenge our opponents for the silverware.”
It’s the kind of thing a skipper will say before a game‚ but even so there’s no arguing with him.
Just as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the truth that a tournament of undiluted integrity — that is‚ not involving the overpaid‚ overblown‚ over-the-hill likes of Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen‚ who had been signed for the stillborn T20 Global League— makes for a more compelling script.