They are going to be dubbed the ‘million-rand men’, but will their performances live up to their billing?
That is the task facing six Proteas who were first out of the matrix in round one of the player draft at the Mzansi Super League on Wednesday.
After the international marquee players were spread across the six teams – with Chris Gayle being grabbed by Jozi Stars – it was the turn of Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dane Vilas and David Miller to be signed.
It was no surprise that Morris was among the round one picks – who will each receive R1 million – as he has commanded big numbers at the IPL in the past due to his skill-set as a quick bowler, hard-hitting batsman and excellent fielder.
That is why the Nelson Mandela Giants secured Morris’ signature right away as they had the first pick in round 1, compared to the Durban Heat, who had first-choice of the international marquee players.
The Tshwane Spartans made sure they claimed their Proteas paceman Lungi Ngidi, who plays out of Centurion anyway in domestic cricket with the Titans.
It was clear that a lot of strategy went into the remaining selections.
The Cape Town Blitz opted for all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, whose changes of pace with the ball could be valuable on an easy-paced Newlands pitch, while the Paarl Rocks went for the spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who will look to rip it at Boland Park.
The Jozi Stars went for a proven domestic player in Dane Vilas, who can score quickly at the top or in the middle-order, and he would be an ideal foil for Gayle.
The Durban Heat were also able to get a regular face in David Miller in the middle-order.
The Round 2 Picks were also interesting, with Proteas speedster Dale Steyn going to Cape Town Blitz, while Heinrich Klaasen will turn out for Durban Heat.
Round 1 Picks
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants: Chris Morris, Tshwane Spartans: Lungi Ngidi, Cape Town Blitz: Andile Phehlukwayo, Paarl Rocks: Tabraiz Shamsi, Jozi Stars: Dane Vilas, Durban Heat: David Miller
Round 2 Picks
Tshwane Spartans: Robbie Frylinck, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants: Jon-Jon Smuts, Durban Heat: Heinrich Klaasen, Jozi Stars: Rassie van der Dussen, Paarl Rocks: Dane Paterson, Cape Town Blitz: Dale Steyn.
Watch the player draft live below!