Cape Town - Paarl Rocks assistant coach Geoffrey Toyana is more than pleased with the squad they have assembled for the inaugural edition of the Mzansi Super League that launches next month.
The new team, one of six in Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) much anticipated T20 League, has acquired the services of Proteas captain Faf du Plessis as well as national stars Aiden Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi and Dane Paterson.
Their main international signings are West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and batsman Paul Stirling of Ireland – all of whom were picked at the Player Draft held at Montecasino in Johannesburg last week.
“I was very satisfied by how the draft worked out,” Toyana said.
“I think we got 85 per cent of the players that we wanted. So, I was really excited by that.
“It’s a tough selection process because you plan and by the time it’s your turn to pick, those three or four players you had in mind are gone, so you have to think on your feet.”
The former Highveld Lions boss will be assistant coach of the Boland Park-based outfit, with former Proteas No 2, Adrian Birrell, heading the team.
Apart from Du Plessis, Markram and Stirling, their other key batsmen are likely to be Proteas T20-capped wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Henry Davids and Patrick Kruger.
Toyana believes this will be a big advantage for the team.
“I think the batting is a strength for us,” he explained.
“It’s quite unfortunate that a guy like Bravo, who is our international marquee player, will miss I think the first five games.
“That will be tough for us, but we’ve got guys to back him up as well in the role that we want them to play, so on a whole, I think batting is our strength.
“Also, I feel we have two quality spinners in a Bjorn Fortuin and Shamsi. They’re two different types of bowlers as well, so they will add good value.”
When Bravo, a veteran of T20 cricket who has played more than 400 games for club and country, is around his impressive all-round ability will give the Rocks some added strength. He is a clever seam bowler, and along with Paterson and rookie Eathan Bosch, will give them some good options.
“If you’ve got three quality T20 bowlers, it makes the job easier for you as you go deeper into a game,” Toyana added.
As for the six squads, the Rocks’ assistant believes they are all equally matched.
“I think all the squads are quite balanced,” he concluded.
“If I look at the balance overall, I think it’s fantastic.”
The first MSL T20 season is scheduled to take place from November 16 to December 16.
Apart from the Paarl Rocks, the other teams that will compete are Cape Town Blitz, Durban Heat, Jozi Stars, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Paarl Rocks and Tshwane Spartans.