South Africa succeeded in starting a domestic T20 league last year after a lot of effort and it was Jozi Stars led by Dane Villas that won the inaugural edition. This year, the second edition of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) will be held from November 8 and there is some serious news for the fans of acclaimed batsman AB de Villiers. The former international cricketer will not lead the Tshwane Spartans in the upcoming league. Last year, the Spartans had ended fifth among six teams with four wins out of 10 games.
Spartans coach Mark Boucher, a former South Africa wicket-keeper-batsman, revealed that de Villiers will not captain the Pretoria-based franchise this time. Last year, de Villiers played in nine games in the MSL and scored 189 runs. The 35-year-old batsman called it quits from international cricket in 2018 citing fatigue but reportedly wanted to play in the World Cup in England this year. Amid the Proteas’ poor show at the quadrennial event, De Villiers’ alleged offer to play and the team management and selectors’ reluctance to allow him so created quite a controversy.
De Villiers was retained by the Spartans that saw top performers like Eoin Morgan, Lungi Ngidi and Dean Elgar, in their ranks last year. On Tuesday, the players’ draft for the second edition was held and Boucher confirmed that the former SA captain gave up the captaincy for the next season.
“AB won’t be captain, we’ve discussed that. He’s a fantastic player but he must go out there and play and perform like he’s been performing in the last while,” the former keeper said via a press release. “We have a few leadership options, we’ll talk to them and see how they feel.”
‘AB doesn’t need burden’
“I don’t think AB needs that burden, he’s in that stage of his life where he must enjoy his cricket and that’s probably when he plays his best.” Boucher, whose career was disrupted by an eye injury making him short of 1,000 international dismissals by a whisker, was pleased with the Spartans squad for the upcoming season of the MSL saying it has got cover for everything.
Tshwane Spartans squad:
AB de Villiers, Lungi Ngidi, Theunis de Bruyn, Lutho Sipamla, Tony de Zorzi, Tom Curran (International marquee – England), Morné Morkel (Kolpak), Heinrich Klaasen, Waqar Salamkheil (Afghanistan), Roelof van der Merwe (Netherlands), Pite van Biljon, Dean Elgar, Wiaan Mulder, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Corbin Bosch
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