Majority of Mzansi Super League T20 hopefuls are South African

16 October 2018 - 15:13 By Telford Vice
Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Chris Nenzani (R) and the chief executive Thabang Moroe (L).
Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Chris Nenzani (R) and the chief executive Thabang Moroe (L).
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Fifty-nine opening batsmen‚ 90 who take guard in the middle order‚ 68 allrounders‚ 85 seamers and 40 spinners.

That adds up to the 342 players who‚ according to the Mzansi Super League (MSL) draft handbook‚ are vying for one of the 96 spots in the tournament’s six franchises.

There are‚ then‚ more than three-and-a-half times as many applicants as there are jobs available — a good sign for Cricket South Africa (CSA).

Sixty-four of them are foreigners and 11 are Kolpak players‚ which means 78.07% of the 342 ply their trade in SA’s domestic system.

The successful players will find out who they are in 14 rounds of drafting in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

First-round picks will go for R1m and those who sneak in in round 14 for R50,000.

Each of the six squads of 16 will include an international and a South African marquee player — all 12 of them assigned‚ not bid for — three CSA contracted players‚ either three or four overseas players‚ and at least one rookie — who is defined as a “South African cricketer who is 21 years or younger and who has not previously played international cricket for SA and is eligible to play for the South African national team”.

“It is indeed highly gratifying for CSA to see the number of quality players from abroad who want to be part of MSL T20 and this confirms SA’s standing as a world class venue for sport and entertainment‚” CSA president Chris Nenzani is quoted as saying in the handbook.

For CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe‚ “The extent of interest shown by players wishing to participate in the MSL T20 has been most encouraging and it confirms beyond doubt the vision we set when we embarked on this project.”

And what a journey it has been‚ what with broadcasters and sponsors proving difficult to secure and a distinct lack of confidence in CSA’s ability to pull it all off given the mess that unfolded last year when the venture — then called the T20 Global League — was postponed.

Plenty could still go wrong before the first ball is bowled on November 16‚ and all the way until the final on December 16.

But‚ for now at least‚ CSA are walking the walk as well as talking the talk.