Shake-up for Mzansi Super League

AB de Villiers might not turn out for the Tshwane Spartans in this year's Mzansi Super League. Picture: Gallo Images

Changes for the third edition of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) will include a potentially exciting bidding war for players and a possible switch in team names.

In the first two editions of the MSL, feted cricketers like AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle were marquee players allocated to one of the teams, but that is all set to change, along with many other aspects, in this year’s T20 carnival.

The third instalment of the MSL would see only eight CSA-contracted players allocated to teams, it was revealed on Friday.

The plan was for each of the eight franchises to then be able to choose one Kolpak or non-contracted South African and one overseas player from the draft.

In that way the MSL draft was expected to become a more exciting extravaganza.

It meant someone like De Villiers, who was a non-contracted player, would no longer be allocated to the Tshwane Spartans and could cause something akin to a bidding war amongst the eight teams, as he would be available in the draft.

There was also likely to be much jostling for international players, who had been of mixed quality over the first two seasons.

Quinton de Kock, formerly of the Cape Town Blitz, had been mooted as the new marquee player for the Tshwane side.

Another change involved the names of the teams. The six domestic franchises would now be able to choose whether to continue with their MSL brands or revert back to their own names – i.e. Cobras, Dolphins, Knights, Lions, Titans and Warriors.

This meant cheesy names, which had developed little traction with fans, could be ditched.

In addition, franchises would be able to source their own sponsors and would share in whatever profits the tournament made.

A new broadcast deal had yet to be signed for MSL III, but CSA was known to have offered the rights to SuperSport.

The first two editions of the MSL were broadcast for free by the SABC, apparently contributing to the tournament’s massive losses.

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