IOL Sport writer, Lungani Zama.
They say life begins out of your comfort zone. If that is the case, then there are an awful lot of South Africans who are simply existing but not living because the unfamiliarity of anything beyond what they know is simply too big a leap.

Just look at Friday, for example. South African cricket entered a new dawn but there was a healthy dose of pessimism towards what is supposed to become the daily bread for our current and future cricketers.

The Mzansi Super League is not some corporate wet dream. It is not a passing phase or a speculative poke in the dark. It has to be the light, and it has to breath new life into our game as a whole. It has to.

So for those who found the trip down the road from channel 202 to 193 a little bit too much, and resorted to calling out every, single shortcoming on match-day one, this next month might be very uncomfortable. It must have been like leaving the suburbs, and driving into the inner city, and noticing that the sole leaf out of place in suburban bliss is nothing compared to the tree right across the road in the heart of the city.

To be sure, there will be a lot of hiccups in this first season of this thing, simply because it is a project undertaken off the back-foot. If the MSL were a batsman, they would be walking to the crease facing a hat-trick ball, with no runs on the board. Many expect it to fail and embarrass South Africa as a whole, but that kind of negative energy is as helpful as a sausage at a vegan party.

If we cast our eye back to the start of the Indian Premier League, over 10 years ago, there were many who couldn’t stand the voice of Danny Morrison, screaming his heart out for the smallest detail; ‘Aaaaah, gee whizz! That’s a DLF maximum, just before the Citi Moment of Success for the Delhi Daredevils international superstar, Rashid Yada Yada...”

Remember that? Remember the cringing, and the craving for the simplicity of South Africa’s straight down the middle calling of a game? Fast forward a decade, and Morrison is a household name, making a fortune out of that excitability.

With time, we have realised that change is not such a bad thing.

Consider then, the lot of the first ever commentary crew for the MSL. Their barometer here is everything that Supersport bring to the table, built over decades of practice and crafting. And, if we are honest, the obligatory peer across the seas to see what is in season at Sky Sports.

Everyone is always trying to improve the product, and all aspects of the Mzansi Super League will probably improve tenfold by the time we get to December 16. The naysayers would do well to remember that and, more to the point, recall that even empires like Rome were not built in a day.

It is also worth remembering that the vast majority of this country has had its first, live action taste of an international T20 franchise tournament. From the comfort of their own homes.

Measure that up against this week’s other, uniquely South African story; woman seeks apartment with no black neighbours in divorce settlement. It might be funny if it wasn’t so tragically real. Where others are trying to break down fences, there are still those who resolutely build walls around themselves. This is why it is important to embrace this ride. It is a chance to show that we can get our house in order - and that house has enough room for all sorts.


Sunday Tribune

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