Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Lahore Qalandars’ owner launched the Durban team of South Africa’s T20 Global League on Friday.
Addressing the kickoff ceremony for ‘Durban Qalandars’, Lahore Qalandars chairman Fawad Rana said he was delighted to be representing the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa’s new T20 competition, with the inaugural edition scheduled to be held later this year.
“There is no better opportunity to come and invest in this great country,” Rana said.
He was accompanied by Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat and Durban Qalandars’ marquee player Hashim Amla at the launching ceremony.
Lorgat, speaking on the occasion, said the “development of youth” lay at the centre of Rana brothers’ vision.
“We are proud to have the Qalandars represent us.. We share their values & vision of transformation,” said Fawzia Peer, Durban Deputy Mayor.
Meanwhile, PSL franchise and 2017 champions Peshawar Zalmi own the rights of ‘Benoni Zalmi’- another franchise of South Africa’s T20 league. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, owner of IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, will be running Cape Town’s team while the owners of Delhi Daredevils own Johannesburg’s team.
Two of the franchises will be South African owned, with businessman Osman Osman now in charge of the Pretoria franchise and Brimstone, an investment company, now having the Stellenbosch franchise as part of its portfolio.
Shah himself was not present at the launch in London, a location that meant the South Africa marquee players attached to each of the eight teams could attend, with the Proteas currently on tour in England.
“We are thrilled by the international mix of owners and the passion and excitement that was clearly demonstrated during the bidding process by them and the marquee players,” said Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
The South Africa marquee players are Hashim Amla (Durban), Quinton de Kock (Benoni), AB de Villiers (Pretoria), Faf du Plessis (Stellenbosch), JP Duminy (Cape Town), David Miller (Bloemfontein), Kagiso Rabada (Johannesburg) and Imran Tahir (Port Elizabeth).
Meanwhile the likes of South Africa-born England batsman Kevin Pietersen and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum are also set to be two of the eight ‘international marquee’ players involved.
They, together with the current England ‘white-ball’ captain Eoin Morgan and fellow batsman Jason Roy, as well as Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard (all West Indies) plus Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga are all set to enter into a mini-draft with the highest bidding franchise owner having first pick and the rest following the same process.
McCullum caused an unintentional moment of humour at the launch when he described himself as a “T20 mercenary”, with event host Alan Wilkins, the cricket broadcaster, jumping in to say “ambassador”.
The November-December timeframe for the tournament means leading Australian players are likely to be unavailable because of a clash with their home season, although that could change if there’s no resolution to their bitter pay dispute with Cricket Australia.
No India players are expected to take part either but more than 400 cricketers have registered their interest, with a draft scheduled for August.