CAPE TOWN – With the newly-launched Mzansi Super League but a month away, the players draft happened in Johannesburg on Wednesday. IOL Sport's Zaahier Adams highlights some of the quirkier issues that arose from yesterday's draw:
* The Proteas walloped Zimbabwe in three ODIs and two T20s recently, but some players left an impression. All-rounder Sean Williams, who was Zimbabwe’s most accomplished player of the tour, was picked up by the Tshwane Spartans. Although fellow all-rounder Sikandar Raza missed the SA tour due to a dispute with the ZCA, he will join Williams at the Spartans while leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta earned a gig at the Durban heat.
* Equally surprising was the Paarl Rocks’ acquisition of Ireland opener Paul Stirling. It may prove to be a shrewd signing with Stirling bringing the experience of 100 ODI’s and 52 T20I’s to the Rocks.
Isn't it all a bit weird?
* Was it just me that found it strange that when the Proteas “marquee” players were awarded to the respective teams that AB de Villiers was among them?
Did De Villiers not retire from all formats last season, thereby effectively cancelling his national contract and status as a Proteas player? De Villiers is also clearly one of the three allowed contracted Proteas in the Tshwane Spartans squad as they have only added Lungi Ngidi and Dean Elgar to their roster.
* Asif who? That was everyone’s reaction when the Cape Town Blitz signed up 27-year-old Pakistani batsman Asif Ali. Although Ali has already played 10 ODIs and 10 T20 Internationals, the right-hander is not among the more well-known Pakistani batsmen.
However, Ali has been recommended by JP Duminy, who played with Ali in Islamabad United’s Pakistan Super League championship-winning campaign last season. Ali’s T20 statistics shows he currently averages 39.90 at a blistering strike-rate of 159.50!