Cricket South Africa has unveiled the teams and marquee South Africa players for the upcoming Mzansi Super League, South Africa's new T20 league. The participation of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis has been confirmed, and CSA has also announced the headlining T20 players for the player draft on Wednesday.
Each of the marquee South Africa signings will represent a different city-based franchise: de Villiers will play for the Tshwane Spartans, Amla for the Durban Heat, Rabada for the Jozi Stars, Tahir for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Duminy for the Cape Town Blitz and du Plessis for Paarl Rocks.
"It was a thorough and well-audited process that led to the six winning bids from our members as well as the collective contribution from all stakeholders involved that led to the final names and logos which we also had to make sure met our objectives for this event," CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe said.
"What was clear throughout this definitive process was that these are completely new entities and names that will operate separately from the current franchise teams. We welcome the six new additions to the South African and international cricket family."
Durban Heat will have the first pick in the player draft on October 17, and they will have the choice of some of T20 franchise cricket's most recognisable names. Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Eoin Morgan, Rashid Khan, Jason Roy and Dawid Malan were all announced as part of the international draft.
"We have received applications from over 200 top international players who expressed interest in playing in this inaugural tournament and will have their names in the hat ahead of the Player Draft process on Wednesday," Moroe said. "There were expected challenges in the process, of course, with some players available for a particular period because of other cricket commitment clashes elsewhere, including our Proteas, who also have to fulfil our tour to Australia for a One-Day International series."
The stadiums that will host each of the teams were announced last week, and the sides will play a total of 32 games, home and away, over a period of one month from November 16. The CEOs of the organisations running the grounds - Newlands, Wanderers, Kingsmead, St George's Park, Boland Park and SuperSport Park - will be de facto managers of the teams, assigning their own coaching staff.
The MSL is due to start the day before South Africa's tour to Australia concludes with a one-off T20I at the Carrara Oval, but CSA confirmed the involvement of South Africa's leading cricketers.