Excitement at fever pitch as MSL teams compete for top players

MSL teams compete for top players

The 2019 Mzansi Super League (MSL 2.0) excitement reached fever pitch as the franchises battled it out to secure their preferred players at this year’s draft.

If the live player draft held at Soweto’s Walter Sisulu Square in Soweto yesterday was anything to go by, the stakes are high and the teams are poised to deliver five weeks of high-octane T20 fun. In only its second year, the tournament is already one of the leading T20 cricket brands in the world with local rising talent, Standard Bank Proteas big names and international stars applying to take part.

The teams had a chance to revisit their squads from last season and then beef up their numbers with other players on their wish list. Each team entered the draft with a big-name Proteas player and international Marquee player. Thirteen players were chosen on the day, and another player will be chosen when the provincial T20 tournament wraps up. This means each team will have a squad of 16 players.

There were a few highlights during the draft. One was Temba Bavuma heading to the bullring from Durban Heat where he played last season. Nono “People’s Champion” Pongolo was retained by the defending champions, the Jozi Stars.

Paarl Rocks could barely hide their excitement, as they seemed to land every player they were eyeing at the start of the draft. When it came to teams being able to match offers from other teams, Cape Town Blitz certainly attracted attention when they wasted no time in preventing Jozi Stars from snatching George Linde.

Most teams were tactical, opting for experience first before chasing the new talent halfway through the selection process.

Cape Town Blitz head coach Ashwin Prince made no bones about the fact that he was chasing the title. “We finished second last year and the plan is to do much better this season.  It’s tough because everyone in the room hoped to get the best players to ensure they will come out on top,” he said.

2018 Mzansi Super League player of the tournament Quinton de Kock says the tournament is very important for the country. “It’s an exciting tournament and it is good for the game as it brings to the fore some of the younger players that we wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to. It also forces the senior players to also step-up and perform at their best. No one is guaranteed a starting berth here - it is anyone’s game.”

Gary Kirsten, Durban Heat head coach, was pragmatic, saying the nature of a draft means there is an element of unpredictability, but that he was happy and eager to get started. “We spent some time as the technical team assessing our squad and looked at which players to secure for this year’s tournament. We came to the draft with the view of getting the bulk of the team we wanted, but the trick about drafts is that you get what you can, and then make the most of it. I am happy with the team that we have assembled and now we can get ready to compete!”

Cricket South Africa (CSA) Chief Executive Thabang Moroe gave the Mzansi Super League his endorsement. “I am very happy with how the draft went today. All the franchises came here really prepared to put their hands up and get the best players for the tournament.”

The games will be played over a five-week period starting on 8 November with the final scheduled to take place on 16 December.


Draft signings (not counting marquee players)

CAPE TOWN BLITZ: Liam Livingstone; Dale Steyn; Sisanda Magala; Anrich Nortje; Asif Ali; Mohammed Nawaz; Janneman Malan; George Linde; David Bedingham; Vernon Philander; Marques Ackerman; Gregory Mahlakoana; Aviwe Mgijima

DURBAN HEAT: David Miller; Dane Villas; Ravi Bopara; Keshav Maharaj; Kyle Abbott; Khaya Zondo; Marco Jansen; Daryn Dupavillon; Sarel Erwee; Malusi Siboto; Prenelan Subrayen; Wihan Lubbe; Shaun von Berg

JOZI STARS: Rassie vd Dussen; Reeza Hendricks; Dan Christian; Temba Bavuma; Duanne Olivier; Simon Harmer; Ryan Rickelton; Aaron Phangiso; Lizaad Williams; Sinethemba Qeshile; Nono Pongolo; Eathan Bosch; Delano Potgieter

NELSON MANDELA BAY GIANTS: Chris Morris; JJ Smuts; Junior Dala; Farhaan Behardien; Matthew Breetzke; Onke Nyaku; Ben Dunk; Heino Kuhn; Marco Marais; Grant Thomson; Akhona Mnyaka; Nandre Burger

PAARL ROCKS:  JP Duminy; Tabraiz Shamsi; Hardus Viljoen; Aiden Markram; Bjorn Fortuin; James Vince; Dwaine Pretorius; Cameron Delport; Sibonelo Makhanya; Henry Davids; Mangaliso Mosehle; Ferisco Adams; Kerwin Mungroo

TSHWANE SPARTANS: Morne Morkel; Lungi Ngidi; Heinrich Klaasen; Theunis de Bruyn; Roelof vd Merwe; Lutho Sipamla; Pite van Biljon; Tony de Zorzi; Waqar Salamkheil; Dean Elgar; Wiaan Mulder; Vaughn van Jaarsveld; Corbin Bosch

VKB Knights Trio Drafted in the MSL

The Mzansi Super League player draft was held at the Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, Soweto, yesterday where three of the VKB Knights players were drafted into various teams. VKB Knights captain Pite van Biljon was drafted by the Pretoria-based Tshwane Spartans while fast bowler Marco Jansen and leg-spinner Shaun von Berg were drafted by Durban Heat.

“It is always nice to have our players involved in the Mzansi Super League and specifically our captain. It is good to have him playing on a higher level and in a bigger competition in preparation for the season ahead,” commented Knights Chief Executive Johan van Heerden.

“It is very nice to see young Marco Jansen who is already doing a lot more than anybody anticipated getting a run in the Durban Heat side as well as Shaun von Berg,” added Van Heerden.

“Congratulations to our three players who have been drafted into the second edition of the Mzansi Super League. We know they will represent us well in this year’s competition,” he concluded.

9 Cobras snapped up at MSL draft held in Soweto

Nine World Sports Betting Cape Cobras were snapped up in the marquee event of the Mzansi Super League season two, the MSL 2.0 draft which was held in Soweto on Tuesday.

There were 184 foreign players, including Kolpak players, in the draft which presented a massive increase on the 71 who applied in 2018.

Five of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras players were picked by the Cape Town Blitz – Janneman Malan, David Bedingham, Vernon Philander, George Linde and Aviwe Mgijima.

Jozi Stars selected the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras fast bowler Lizaad Williams as they look to defend the title they won last season.

Nandre Burger, a new acquisition for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, was picked by the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants. Cobras left arm seamer Akhona Mnyaka will be joining Burger at the Giants.

Boland and Cobras all-rounder Ferisco Adams was selected to represent the Paarl Rocks in the showpiece event starting in November.

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras CEO Nabeal Dien congratulated the players who were selected. “We are very proud to have so many Cobras players represented in the second season of MSL and we wish them the best of luck at their respective teams.”

JP Duminy was also snapped up by the Paarl Rocks. He is no longer part of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad, having retired from the domestic game at the end of last season, yet he has a strong emotional bond with the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.

Thirteen players were chosen on Tuesday and the 14th position will be a wild card to be selected at the conclusion of the CSA Provincial T20 competition. This will give all squads a total of 16 players.

©Cricket World 2019