Lubbe's lucky break into Mzansi Super League's Jozi Stars
Wihan Lubbe battles to contain his excitement when asked about the prospect of featuring in South Africa’s new T20 tournament, the Mzansi Super League (MSL).
“It’s hard to put into words the emotions I’m going through right now,” he says.
Until last weekend, the Highveld Lions batsman was resigned to watching the Mzansi Super League from his couch at home, having missed out on being drafted into one of the six teams competing in the tournament.
However, an injury to one of the players in the Jozi Stars team saw Lubbe handed a lifeline and called in as a replacement.
The 26-year-old received a call on Monday informing him that he would be part of the Joburg-based team.
“I was incredibly disappointed at not getting drafted in, but you have to remain positive. Luckily the Lord had his own plans,” says Lubbe.
“I have been brought in as a replacement and at the moment it might still only be for a few of the games until the Proteas return, but I’ll be grabbing the opportunity with both hands.”
The MSL kicked-off last night as Cape Town Blitz took on the Tshwane Spartans at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town.
Lubbe’s team will take to the field today against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at the Wanderers Stadium in Joburg.
For the next month the Cape Town Blitz, Durban Heat, Jozi Stars, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Paarl Rocks and Tshwane Spartans will battle for the R7 million prize for the inaugural tournament winners, with the event runners-up pocketing R2.5 million.
“I think I speak for all the young cricketers in the country in that we were very disappointed that last year's Global League T20 tournament was cancelled,” says the former North West University student.
“Now having the Mzansi Super League is just as exciting.”
The left-handed batsman will share a locker room with the likes of West Indies big-hitter Chris Gayle, Australia’s Dan Christian and Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada.
Lubbe was relishing the chance to learn from experienced players like Gayle: “The more time we have to spend with players like Gayle, the more we can gain from it. All of the players have loads of experience in the game, so I will be looking to learn as much as I can from them.”
Lubbe believes the MSL will benefit South Africa’s up-and-coming cricketers: “Learning from senior and more experienced players will provide a great opportunity in itself, but playing is a chance to showcase our skills. All of the teams that have been selected this year are really strong, so the quality of cricket should be very high and the international players will only strengthen it.”
He believes the MSL could prove to be as beneficial to young South African cricketers as the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been for young Indian cricketers.
“We have a lot of young talent all around the country, so the more opportunities there are for those players to be seen the better, not only for them but for general cricket in South Africa.”
Lubbe has a “good feeling” his team will do well in the inaugural tournament.
“I think we have a very good balance in our squad with a few game changers as well in the mix, so I think we will do well in the tournament.”
The Saturday Star