Durban - Following the announcement of the marquee players for each of the six Mzansi Super League franchises, Durban Heat coach Gary Kirsten is happy that the Heat will have Andile Phehlukwayo and England’s Alex Hales in his team’s colours for this year’s competition.
Phehlukwayo represented the Cape Town Blitz during the first edition of the MSL last year and has grown into a crucial cog in the Proteas machine over the last 18 months. He was one of the stand-outs in a disappointing Cricket World Cup campaign earlier this year.
“I have watched Andile playing for the Proteas and what has struck me is that he is a big game player,” Kirsten said.
“He has good skills and can contribute equally with both bat and ball which makes him an important part of the side.
“In T20 cricket you have to be able to cover all of your bases and he does that. With that said you need to cover them well and I think that when you have your match-ups against the opposition he will match up well.”
Phehlukwayo plays his domestic cricket for the Dolphins based at Kingsmead and being in a comfortable environment is something that will benefit his game.
“It will be good for him to be back at home in a familiar place and in a space that he is comfortable in.”
Alex Hales has played 60 T20 Internationals and 70 One Day Internationals for England. He will bring with him a wealth of experience and much like Phehlukwayo the 30-year-old Nottinghamshire batsman has a proven track record of winning games for county and country.
“Alex comes to us highly recommended by some of my contacts in the UK,” Kirsten commented.
“We are really happy to have him on board at the Durban Heat and we know that he is another big match player.
“He will be a crucial component of our squad for the competition and we look forward to having him with us.”
Along with these two marquee players, the Durban Heat have retained the services of South African T20 Cricketer of the Year David Miller and Proteas Test star Keshav Maharaj for the tournament.
Miller is looking forward to welcoming Hales to the Durban Heat and knows that the star will be a strong addition to the side.
“I don’t know Alex but I am looking forward to getting to know him,” Miller said.
“As you do in these competitions all around the globe you get to know people from all over the world on a personal level.
“I rate him highly as a player and so I am looking forward to seeing how he works, how he thinks about the game and how he prepares for each game.”
It was a disappointing first term for the Durban Heat and there has been an overhaul of personnel at the franchise with newly appointed Dolphins head coach Imraan Khan taking up the reins as assistant coach to Kirsten.
The draft for the Mzansi Super League will happen on September 3 in Kliptown, Soweto.
More information can be found at www.durbanheat.co.za