Cricket South Africa’s new T20 Global League took a huge step forward with the announcement of the eight franchises’ squads on Sunday.
In total, the owners spent in excess of R 93 million on players.
We run the rule over the respective teams.
Coach: Graeme Smith
Home ground: Willowmoore Park, Benoni
Strengths: Where to start! The batting group is packed with powerful stroke-makers such as Quinton de Kock, Albie Morkel, Jason Roy and David Wiese. Even the rookie batters like Rivaldo Moonsamy and Leus du Plooy pack a punch. It’s the same case with a varied group of bowlers. The mix between young and wise is, frankly, ideal.
Weaknesses: It’s difficult to spot one but placing mercurial Pakistan left-armer Wahab Riaz as the leader of the attack might or might not come off.
Squad: Quinton de Kock, Jason Roy (ENG), Albie Morkel, Wahab Riaz (PAK), Umar Akmal (PAK), Lungi Ngidi, David Wiese, Eddie Leie, Pite van Biljon, Leus du Plooy, Dillon du Preez, Dean Elgar, Mohammad Nawaz (PAK), George Linde, Rivaldo Moonsamy, Calvin Savage, Carmi le Roux, Tshepo Moreki.
BLOEM CITY BLAZERS
Coach: Phil Simmons
Home ground: Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
Strengths: Another side that’s packed with big hitters, especially in David Miller, Dwayne Smith, Theunis de Bruyn and young Janneman Malan. Kieron Pollard and Chris Jordan are two of the foremost all-rounders in the format.
Weaknesses: There’s a risk of an underwhelming bowling attack lacking penetration. It seems to have been bought with the aim of restricting runs rather than taking wickets.
Squad: David Miller, Kieron Pollard (WI), Dane Paterson, Chris Jordan (ENG), Dwayne Smith (WI), Shaun von Berg, Aaron Phangiso, Morne van Wyk, Beuran Hendricks, Theunis de Bruyn, Janneman Malan, Ryan Ten Doeschate (NED), Clyde Fortuin, Rayad Emrit, Werner Coetsee, Yaseen Vallie, Akhona Mnyaka, Keegan Petersen.
CAPE TOWN KNIGHT RIDERS
Coach: Jacques Kallis
Home ground: Newlands, Cape Town
Strengths: Whenever a team has Chris Gayle in its group, it will be dangerous. They’ve done well to nab two very good English players in leggie Adil Rashid and promising seamer Tom Curran.
Weaknesses: If one looks with a critical eye, it become apparent that there’s not quite the depth you’d expect. There’s a lack of hitting power without Gayle too.
Squad: JP Duminy, Chris Gayle (WI), Dale Steyn, Adil Rashid (ENG), Tom Curran (ENG), Rassie van der Dussen, James Vince (ENG), Dwaine Pretorius, Jason Smith, Rudi Second, Rory Kleinveldt, Malusi Siboto, Dinesh Ramdin (WI), Thomas Kaber, Senuran Muthusamy, Dayyaan Galiem, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima.
Coach: Paddy Upton
Home ground: Kingsmead, Durban
Strengths: There’s not necessarily star power in this squad, which is actually a good thing. Instead, it’s full of accomplished players who might be underrated. That makes them dangerous. They have a savvy, unconventional coach in Paddy Upton too.
Weaknesses: T20 bowling attacks need one player who can hold things together consistently. The Qalanders instead rely on bowlers prone to inconsistency.
Squad: Hashim Amla, Eoin Morgan (ENG), Chris Morris, Sam Billings (ENG), Mitch McLenaghan (NZ), Bjorn Fortuin, Mohammad Hafeez (PAK), Fakhar Zaman (PAK), Junior Dala, Qaasim Adams, Migael Pretorius, Nicky van den Bergh, Prenalan Subrayen, Kelly Smuts, Marques Ackerman, Daryn Dupavillon, Mtokozisi Shezi, Cody Chetty.
Coach: S Sriram
Home ground: Wanderers, Johannesburg
Strengths: At a time when runs seems to be the only thing that matters in T20, it’s great to see a side that could stake a claim for dominating with the ball. Just consider an attack of Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, Roelof van der Merwe, Yasir Shah and Duanne Olvier. And there’s still Andile Phehlukwayo and Dane Piedt in reserve…
Weaknesses: Much like the Knight Riders, the Giants could struggle for runs if Kiwi legend Brendan McCullum departs early.
Squad: Kagiso Rabada, Brendan McCullum, Colin Ingram, Vernon Philander, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Jonker, Temba Bavuma, Patrick Kruger, Yasir Shah (PAK), Nicolas Pooran, Duanne Olivier, Jonathan Vandiar, Roelof van dr Merwe, Andries Gous, Rabian Engelbrecht, Dane Piedt, Andre Malan, Zubayr Hamza.
NELSON MANDELA BAY STARS
Coach: Mark Boucher
Home ground: St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
Strengths: There’s a Warriors spine to this team – think JJ Smuts, Colin Ackermann and Sisanda Mangala – and they’re always very good in domestic T20 cricket. On their day they also have a scarily good T20 bowling attack.
Weaknesses: If Kevin Pietersen isn’t in full flight, don’t expect this team to reach 180-200 often.
Squad: Imran Tahir, Kevin Pietersen (ENG), JJ Smuts, Aiden Markram, Anwar Ali (PAK), Heinrich Klaasen, Junaid Khan (PAK), Dawid Malan (ENG), Sisanda Magala, Heino Kuhn, Andrew Birch, Colin Ackermann, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Sibonelo Makhanya, Wihan Lubbe, Grant Thomson, Lesiba Ngoepe, Ryan Rickelton.
Coach: Russell Domingo
Home ground: SuperSport Park, Centurion
Strengths: Much like the Titans, this group has a distinct Proteas flavour. There’s great batting firepower and depth.
Weaknesses: Much like the Titans, there are question marks over the true strength of the attack. They maybe lack an energetic young quick (though Eldred Hawken looks promising).
Squad: AB de Villiers, Dwayne Bravo (WI),Morne Morkel, Farhaan Behardien, Dane Vilas, Robbie Frylinck, Keshav Maharaj, Johan Botha, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Steven Finn (ENG), Reeza Hendricks, Diego Rosier, Khaya Zondo, Eldred Hawken, Basheeru Walters, Stephan Myburgh (NED), Tony de Zorsi, Kyle Nipper.
Coach: Stephen Fleming
Home ground: Boland Park, Paarl
Strengths: The exciting England opener Alex Hales is a potentially terrific signing and, in coach Fleming and captain Faf du Plessis, the Monarchs have two of the keenest thinkers in the game.
Weaknesses: Sri Lanka quick Lasith Malinga, judging by his current from, doesn’t quite look like the leader of the attack you’d want. And there’s little backup then to support some of the younger members.
Squad: Faf du Plessis, Lasith Malinga (SL), Alex Hales (ENG), Tabraiz Shamsi, Wayne Parnell, Imad Wasim (PAK), Henry Davids, Mangaliso Mosehle, Wiaan Mulder, Justin Ontong, Ryan McLaren, Brendan Taylor (ZIM), Lizaad Williams, Jeewan Mendis (SL), Rowan Richards, Craig Alexander, Grant Mokoena, Kyle Simmonds.