Durban Heat rely on local talent after excellent MSL draft

The inaugural Mzansi Super League saw the Durban Heat select a strong, balanced but also exciting squad with a decidedly local flavour for the new T20 tournament kicking off on 16 November.

FILE: Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj celebrates taking a wicket. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The inaugural Mzansi Super League saw the Durban Heat select a strong, balanced but also exciting squad with a decidedly local flavour for the new T20 tournament kicking off on 16 November.

The Durban-born Hashim Amla was to be the South African marquee player for the Heat. In the first round of the draft, the Durban side selected Afghanistan leg spinning wizard and ICC number 1 T20 bowler, Rashid Khan, as their international marquee player.

The squad of 16 players includes an impressive 13 players who have international experience, as well as eight players who are very familiar with their home base, having played or currently are plainly for the domestic Durban franchise - the Dolphins.

Fan favourite David Miller was snapped up in the second round of the draft by the Heat. The player shares the record for the fastest T20I century has a proven track record in the format.

Another exciting acquisition was that of rising star Heinrich Klaasen, the destructive right-hander was the fourth pick, while Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj was also selected along with Dolphins captain Khaya Zondo.

"We managed to pick up the spine of our side with our main bowlers and our power hitters early which meant that we just needed to put some more meat on the bone," coach Grant Morgan said.

"You will have a situation where you might not have enough meat but we feel that we have got more than enough meat on the bone.

"We feel that we have got the best possible balance we can get and even when guys are away, we have a squad that can still win games."

Experienced white ball cricketer Albie Morkel will also call Durban his home for a month from November, along with Proteas seamer Vernon Philander and Proteas batsman Temba Bavuma.

The Heat managed to pick up a couple of Kolpak players in the draft. Fast bowler Marchant de Lange, who plays for Glamorgan in the UK, as well as former Dolphins star and current Hampshire quick Kyle Abbott are both players with international experience.

Young Cape Cobras seamer Tladi Bokako was also included in the Heat squad along with the rookie pick and Dolphins fast bowler, Okuhle Cele, which is perfect for the talented duo who will absorb learnings from the likes of Philander and Abbott.

The Heat also managed to pick up two local stalwarts in Morné van Wyk and SJ Erwee. Van Wyk has a T20I century against the West Indies and Erwee began last year's domestic T20 tournament with a blistering 100 against the Cobras.

After proving to be one of the stand-out players in the Zimbabwe squad that recently toured South Africa, the Heat picked leg-spinning all-rounder Brendon Mavuta as their 11th round pick.

"We have put together a squad that we are proud of and a squad that has a strong Durban flavour," Morgan added.

"Our squad also incorporates a lot of other players that can add more spice and value to our set up.

"We want our team to make Durbanites excited for this tournament and we want to bring them some joy in the holiday season."

Durban Heat squad:
Hashim Amla, Rashid Khan, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Kyle Abbott, Keshav Maharaj, Khaya Zondo, Albie Morkel, Marchant de Lange, Vernon Philander, Brandon Mavuta, Temba Bavuma, Morné van Wyk, Okuhle Cele, Sarel Erwee, Tladi Bokako