Proteas stars back MSL as CSA seeks success story

Dale Steyn (Gallo)
Dale Steyn (Gallo)

Cape Town - The second edition of South Africa's Mzansi Super League (MSL) gets underway on November 8 at a time when the country's cricketing authorities are desperate for a success story. 

There were positives that came out of last year's inaugural tournament, with most of the players and coaches involved hailing the standard of the cricket on offer. 

The absence of a lucrative broadcast deal and title sponsors as well as modest crowd figures, however, were some of the concerns to have emerged from the 2018 product.

Since then, South African cricket has been in the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons. 

A dismal 2019 World Cup campaign led to radical structural change at Cricket South Africa (CSA) and while there is uncertainty over who will guide the national side forward and how, the real worry in the local game remains rooted in the fact that CSA finds itself in hundreds of millions of Rands in debt. 

The MSL is supposed to be one vehicle of helping CSA generate the funds to get out of that financial predicament. 

Broadcasters SuperSport are once again uninvolved for what has been dubbed MSL 2.0, while the tournament will be screened free-to-air on SABC for the second year running. 

CSA will be holding its breath and hoping that this year's tournament sparks interest from the local cricketing community, and if the words of Steyn and Duminy are anything to go by, then there is hope yet. 

Both players were members of the Proteas' World Cup squad, though an out-of-form Duminy played a limited role while Steyn did not feature because of injury. 

Duminy, now retired from international cricket, said he was feeling incredibly positive about the MSL as he prepared for his season with the Paarl Rocks. 

"It's huge for domestic cricket in South Africa," said Duminy on Monday.

"I think if you look back probably two, three or even five years domestic cricket was probably on a  downward scale.

"I think the revival of the T20 game and the model that the MSL uses is something that I'm quite excited about.

"You have the scenario where international cricketers are moulded with the young, up and coming talent in South Africa and that will only stand us in good stead moving forward."

Steyn, who will turning out for the Cape Town Blitz for the second year running, was looking forward to getting back on the park. 

Since the World Cup, he has retired from Test cricket, but the 36-year-old is still available for limited overs international cricket. 

"It's great to play in your home country. I've played a lot of cricket for South African and you don't play around the local grounds as often as you'd like," he said, adding that the MSL was still not in the same league as the IPL.

"IPL is one of those untouchable leagues because in every IPL team they have at least five international Indian players as well as four overseas international.

"In the MSL you maybe get three or four, but it is still good enough.

"Last year when we played it didn't feel easy, so it means there is some quality."

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