Opinion: What the International Marquee Players Bring to the Mzansi Super League

Fielder throws cricket ball in

The first round of Mzansi Super League draft saw the six franchises choose from a pool of elite overseas professionals.

The position of the Mzansi Super League in the global calendar opens it up to the cream of the English game - as well as some of the 'usual suspects' in T20 leagues around the world.

Dawid Malan, Jason Roy and Eoin Morgan all threw their names into the hat alongside three men who are seemingly woven into the fabric of T20 cricket: Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Rashid Khan.

Afghanistan all-rounder Khan has been a sensation both on the international stage, where he shot to the number one spot in the ICC's T20I bowling rankings, and for franchise teams from the Caribbean to Australia's Big Bash. Khan has shown that he can take wickets in any conditions and, of late, has started to win matches with the bat as well. It was no surprise that he was picked up as the first choice. Khan will turn out for the Durban Heat alongside Proteas stalwarts Hashim Amla, David Miller, and Heinrich Klaasen.

Some have questioned whether his powers are on the fade but the 'Universe Boss' Gayle still demands early selection. Gayle is set to play his home games at the Wanderers - a prospect that could give opening bowlers sleepless nights. The Jozi Stars will be banking on the 'Six Machine' turning up in top form. Gayle had a very good IPL earlier this year and was nearly able to single-handedly guide the misfiring Kings XI Punjab to the play-offs. He has been playing List A cricket in the Caribbean in order to qualify to represent the West Indies at next year's World Cup and seems to be a more focused player in the last 12 months.

Entertaining all-rounder Bravo reunites with Chennai Super Kings team-mate Faf du Plessis at the Paarl Rocks in a team that does not lack characters. Bravo is known for dancing send-offs and pairing him with Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi will give Fortnite a run for its money. There are few players in world cricket who would add more to a Twenty20 outfit.

The Cape Town Blitz raised eyebrows in selecting Malan when they had the option of selecting proven international stars in the shape of Roy or Morgan. Malan has a strong connection to cricket in the Cape, though, having spent a spell at Bellville Cricket Club in the Northern Suburbs of the Mother City before he ascended to the England team. Malan was considered a stronger white-ball prospect before he was afforded a run in the Test team that has been less than stellar. Malan is among the best six international players that expressed interest in the tournament suggests that stars are unsure if the tournament will be a success. Malan averaged 11.33 in the 2018 T20 Blast for Middlesex.

The Tshwane Spartans paired England skipper Morgan with former Proteas captain AB de Villiers to form a strong leadership core as well as a powerful spine to the middle-order. Morgan has shown himself capable of pulling teams out of the fire and, with AB alongside him at Centurion, the Spartans have the look of a resilient team.

Durban-born England blaster Roy was surprisingly the final pick among the international marquee players, going to the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, who may benefit from the poor choices of others.

Being assigned Roy allowed the Giants to scoop star all-rounder Chris Morris. That gave them a strong base to work from with Imran Tahir already unveiled as the marquee Proteas player. Roy can be used as an opener or middle-order batsman. His forte is punishing the bowlers in the powerplay but he can adjust his game to the match situation.

The Mzansi Super League certainly isn't jam-packed with international stars but those who have shown interest are set to make a big impact on the new tournament.

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Durban Heat - Mzansi Super League - T20 Cricket - South AfricaCape Town Blitz - Mzansi Super League - T20 Cricket - South Africa
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants - Team Logo - Mzansi Super League - T20 Cricket - South AfricaJozi Stats - Team Logo -  Mzansi Super League - T20 Cricket - South Africa
Tshwane Spartans - Team Logo - Mzansi Super League - T20 Cricket - South AfricaPaarl Rocks - Team Logo - Mzansi Super League - T20 Cricket - South Africa

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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