Opinion: Rights and wrongs of T20 Global League player draft

Jonhenry Wilson gives us his take on the recent T20 Global League player draft.

While the big cash gathered by Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Dale Steyn, JJ Smuts and several others grabbed the headlines after Sunday's T20 Global League player draft, there were many sales and moments that weren't necessarily covered by the media in the few days following the event.

Graeme Smith's relatively quick pick of Pakistani fast bowler Wahab Riaz was particularly intriguing. The Benoni Zalmi coach's insistence that the franchise needed a solid fast bowler from overseas offered some early insight into their approach for the tournament. Riaz's arrival will certainly bring an aggressive edge to a Zalmi pace attack also serviced by Lungi Ngidi.

It was pretty clear that Benoni wanted Rory Kleinveldt on their books, too, but were effectively beaten to the buzzer by the Cape Town Knight Riders in the ninth round. Smith's glare at Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy, seated at a neighbouring table, evidenced this. The Knight Riders' choice, but they did well to nab Kleinveldt, who has been lost to South African cricket but remains a force to be reckoned with at Northamptonshire.

Duminy and company had earlier forsaken the chance to select Wayne Parnell, who later went to the Stellenbosch Monarchs. Fans will be pleased Parnell remained with a Western Cape outfit. He would have been a mere option in a Knight Riders squad packed with all-rounders, but will be the leading choice at the Monarchs - and will be able to mentor the likes of Wiaan Mulder and Lizaad Williams.

England all-rounder Chris Jordan was a late addition to the draft - and didn't even feature in the event handbook. The Bloem City Blazers wasted no time in snapping him up. Robin Petersen and fellow coaching staff were certainly the most decisive franchise on the day, often requiring just the opening seconds of the three-minute deadline to announce their choices.

The Durban Qalanders were, personnel-wise, true to their roots. Opting for plenty of talent from KwaZulu-Natal, with a couple of Pakistani stars thrown in for brand value, the Qalanders will also benefit from the presence of Black Caps pace ace Mitchell McLenaghan. Interestingly enough, McLenaghan has since opted out of a New Zealand contract to become a globetrotting T20 gun for hire.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stars afforded Warriors workhorse Andrew Birch long overdue recognition and ample remuneration - and hired Dawid Malan. Working around Malan's England duties, though, will be challenging. The Ashes tour starts a week or so after the opening fixtures of the T20 Global League and, by most accounts, Malan will be in the XI for the first Test against the Aussies. Mark Boucher and company will have to squeeze as much game time out of their English recruit as possible before then.

The apparent reinvention of Colin Ingram, meanwhile, will be on display at the Jo'burg Giants. The Giants deliberated the most at the auction, almost milking the three- and two-minute allowances to their fullest extents at the draft. Their best choice was Ingram, who has changed from average Proteas ODI cricketer to veritable Glamorgan superstar over the last couple of seasons - and recently struck a 50-delivery century against Essex.

I'm not convinced by the direction of the Pretoria Mavericks. On paper, it seems AB de Villiers, Dwayne Bravo and Morne Morkel might have to have to carry the XI for the most part. The Mavericks' investment in youth, alongside a few nearing has-beens, doesn't inspire the greatest of confidence. However, Dane Vilas, Robbie Frylinck, Johan Botha and Vaughn van Jaarsveld can happily prove the theory wrong.

In closing, for a bit of self-indulgence, it was a pleasure and privilege to attend the player draft. Having watched several Indian Premier league auctions and Caribbean Premier League drafts from a distance over the years, attending Sunday's event in person was a first, even for a journalist of 10-plus years.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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