South African speedster Dale Steyn, out of international cricket for a long time, will be seen in action when he runs in for the Cape Town Knight Riders in the inaugural edition of the T20 Global League, set to begin in November.
The fast bowler has not appeared for the Proteas since breaking his shoulder in the Perth Test against Australia last year. The main player draft for the T20 Global League was held in Cape Town. Each of the eight franchises had earlier been allocated a star South African marquee player and a big-name international cricketer, but the other 16 players in the squad came via the draft.
Each franchise was asked to make its pick during the live event, with the first three players chosen being South African. Chris Morris was the first pick by the Durban Qalandars.
Four of the eight franchises have a distinctly sub-continental flavour. GMR Sports, owners of the Indian Premier League team Delhi Daredevils, are in the game as Joburg Giants, while the Shah Rukh Khan-co-owned Knight Riders brand, already well known in India and the Caribbean Premier League, has added the Cape Town franchise to its stable. Fawad Rana, the owner of Pakistan Super League side Lahore Qalandars, has bought Durban Qalandars, while Javed Afridi of Peshawar Zalmi has acquired Benoni Zalmi.
Five venues will host opening weekend matches which will see all eight franchises in action. The league starts with Cape Town Knight Riders taking on Pretoria Mavericks at Newlands on Friday, November 3. The clash would pit Steyn, Chris Gayle and JP Duminy against the Mavericks’ AB de Villiers, Dwayne Bravo and Morne Morkel.
It will be followed by two double-headers on Saturday and Sunday. There will be double-headers every weekend as well as several in midweek as the league hosts 57 matches in 44 days. Other big names set to play in the league include David Miller and Kieron Pollard (Bloem City Blazers), Quinton de Kock and Jason Roy (Benoni Zalmi), Hashim Amla and Eoin Morgan (Durban Qalandars), Kagiso Rabada and Brendon McCullum (Joburg Giants).
Apart from jumping on the T20 bandwagon that has helped other boards rake in the moolah, Cricket South Africa hopes the venture will dissuade players from taking the Kolpak route.