Cricket 13.4.2017 07:25 pm

Chris Gayle and friends add star power to CSA’s new T20 tourney

Chris Gayle is coming back to SA later this year. Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images.

Chris Gayle is coming back to SA later this year. Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images.

The local federation wanted to attract top names in the shortest form of the game for its new product and they certainly got it.

Cricket South Africa’s new T20 Global Destination League has already pulled off a major coup with the announcement on Thursday of some fully accredited superstars of the game among the eight international marquee players who will be made available for the eight franchises.

Included among the eight players who have signed on for the league are Chris Gayle, arguably the greatest batsman to have played T20 cricket (he has scored more than 2000 runs more than anyone else in the format), and Lasith Malinga, whom many believe to be the best T20 bowler ever.

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The Sri Lankan has taken 313 wickets in 228 T20 games, second only to Dwayne Bravo, with 367 wickets in 344 games, who has also signed on for the tournament.

CSA have also managed to attract batsmen number two, Brendon McCullum, and five, West Indian Kieron Pollard, in the all-time run-scorer’s list, as well as Kevin Pietersen.

Bravo, Gayle, Pietersen and Pollard have all represented South African franchises before and that meant CSA would encourage Global T20 team owners to consider their existing relationships with certain cities when they enter the draft.

Eoin Morgan, who has been a tremendous agent for change within England’s limited-overs team, and countryman Jason Roy are the other two international marquee players.

CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said their success in attracting some of the biggest names in T20 cricket would go a long way towards building interest in the new competition.

“We are thrilled by the calibre of the top eight international players we have lined up to participate in our new T20 League. They are all stars in their own right and will add great value to the franchise teams they will represent. This top-quality list of players will set a high standard for our tournament.

“Coming from four different continents, these players confirm the global interest we have already seen. No doubt this will grow as other international stars register their interest to participate in our new T20 League. The high level of interest from players and sponsors to participate in our league is proof of the great attraction of South Africa as a global destination,” Lorgat said.

The eight internationals will be allocated to franchises by virtue of the highest bidder having first pick, second-highest picking next and then the third-highest and so on.

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