Chris Gayle might turn out for the Lions in the T20 Global League. Photo: EPA
DURBAN – If there were any doubts about the ambitions of the T20 Global League that is to be launched in South Africa later this year, they were cast aside this week when Cricket South Africa revealed their initial cast-list for the new tournament.

Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen, Lasith Malinga, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Jason Roy and Eoin Morgan are all household names in the game, and they have all confirmed their participation as overseas marquee players for the event.

There haven’t been too many details about the tournament thus far, but Thursday’s release of the star power that will form a crucial part of the playing staff was timely.

For one thing, it underlined the sincerity of the ambition of the tournament as Messrs Gayle, Bravo and company are all recognised as among the finest practitioners of the shortest format.

The likes of McCullum and Pietersen may have retired from international cricket, but they are both still major drawcards on the back of what they achieved at the peak of their powers.

The majority of the Super Eight are still playing active and decisive roles for franchises around the world, and their confirmation of participation has to be seen as a statement of serious intent.

Of course, this initial cast will be supplemented heavily by South Africa’s biggest names, and there will no doubt be a clamour for the likes of AB de Villiers, Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris, who are all plying their trade in the Indian Premier League over the next few weeks.

The time of the year also means that the league can call upon most of the world’s playing nations when it comes to the player auction – aside from England and Australia, who will be in the midst of a much-anticipated Ashes series.

All-rounder Dwayne Bravo is one of the eight marquee internationals for the T20 Global League. Photo: EPA

Intriguingly, the timing also leaves the door open for stars from India to possibly play a role, especially as they then tour South Africa over the plum festive season, just after the tournament.

While the owners of the prospective eight franchises are yet to be named, there is already much speculation about where the eight stars will be posted. Common sense would suggest that Pietersen, born in KwaZulu-Natal and a regular Dolphins overseas signing, will be based in Durban.

Pollard, a firm favourite at Newlands, would probably be quite partial to returning to familiar haunts, as would Gayle with the bright lights of Joburg.

At this stage, it’s all just an educated guess, and major surprises could be sprung over the next few months. Some say that major cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg may have two teams, as they have a big enough fan base to house the madness.

By unravelling each detail slowly, the organisers of the T20 Global League have certainly added a touch of mystery to the whole affair.

The cricket community awaits the next piece of the puzzle with mounting interest. Clearly, there are big plans for the end of the year in South Africa.