AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla were among the marquee South African players who will represent the eight franchises in the first and second seasons of the South African T20 Global Destination League, scheduled to begin this November.
The other six players are Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir. Among the notable absentees is Dale Steyn, the star paceman who has been out of action for long stretches in recent times because of injuries, especially to the right shoulder.
Each marquee player will be part of a franchise based in the city he has either been historically associated with, or one in which he can build a strong association, explained Cricket South Africa on Friday (April 21).
“The selection of our own South African marquee players has been very exciting,” said Haroon Lorgat, CSA’s chief executive. “And it will be even more exciting when we engage fans to help us to allocate the ‘hometown hero’ to each franchise team. This announcement is another major step towards establishing our new T20 League in South Africa. We must not understate the world-class quality of our own players. They are household names across the world and our fans in South Africa will finally get the chance to see them compete against one another at home.
“Together with the international marquee players announced last week, the Protea stars will add great value to the new franchise teams they will represent.”
The eight marquee overseas players Lorgat mentioned are Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen, Dwayne Bravo, Lasith Malinga, Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan, Brendon McCullum and Kieron Pollard.
De Villiers, South Africa’s One-Day International captain, and du Plessis, the Test and T20 International captain, are currently in India to be a part of the Indian Premier League, as are all the others except de Kock and Duminy.
“It is a great feeling to be named amongst the eight marquee players,” said du Plessis. “These are some of the best players in the world. Playing against them will be a different challenge and one I look forward to. It will be fun and at the same time very competitive because we know each other so well. I am really looking forward to it.”
“I’m honoured to be part of this list and cannot wait for the competition to get going,” said de Villiers. “It’s amazing to think that the best in the world are going to be here on our shores. Looking at the international names, they are individuals that have changed the landscape of T20 cricket and I look forward to featuring in the league.”
While the selections of de Villiers and du Plessis was straightforward, the choice of Rabada over experienced stars like Steyn and Morne Morkel was interesting.
“I am overwhelmed to have been named a marquee player. I still cannot believe it and l think it will only hit home as the competition gets close,” commented Rabada. “I look forward to leading by example. It is an opportunity for every young South African cricketer to put his name on the world map. Just thinking of it excites me.”
With the latest announcement, all eight teams, which are yet to be identified, will have two marquee players in their 17-man squads, and the rest of the players will be finalised in a player-draft system on a later date.