Star Protea batsman and wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock will represent the “Benoni Zalmi” franchise as the marquee South African player.
Pakistani business executive and entrepreneur Javed Afridi (CEO of Haier Pakistan and also the owner of cricket franchise Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League) was announced as the owner of the franchise which will now call Sahara Park Willowmoore home.
“Zalmi”, directly translated, means “Youth” in the language of Urdu (the national language of Pakistan) and it is the youthfulness of Benoni which attracted Afridi to the city.
The process of applying to own and operate a team opened on February 4, with more than 150 expressions of interest of ownership now narrowed down to just eight.
Eight international marquee players will be entered into a mini-draft with the highest bidding franchise owner having the first pick and the rest following the same process.
The eight international marquee players are Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Chris Gayle (West Indies), Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka), Brendon McCullum (New Zealand), Eoin Morgan (England), Kevin Pietersen (England), Kieron Pollard (West Indies) and Jason Roy (England).
The player draft is scheduled for 19 August, with almost 400 players from 10 countries confirming their interest in playing in the tournament.
The host cities and their marquee Protea players will be Durban (Hashim Amla), Benoni (Quinton de Kock), Pretoria (AB de Villiers), Stellenbosch (Faf du Plessis), Cape Town (JP Duminy), Bloemfontein (David Miller), Johannesburg (Kagiso Rabada) and Port Elizabeth (Imran Tahir).
The inaugural franchise-based T20 Global League kicks off in November with specific dates still to be confirmed.
The Eastern Cricket Union’s Leonard Rajagapaul, commenting on behalf of the president, board and CEO of the union, said: “It is with great excitement and our pleasure to inform you that Sahara Park Willowmoore was today announced as one of the eight host venues for the upcoming CSA T20 Global League competition in November.
“The competition, which is similar to that of the Indian Premier League (IPL), will see us host some of the best cricketers in the world.
“It is great news for Eastern Cricket and for Ekurhuleni and promises some exciting times ahead.”
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