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Monday, June 24, 2024

Faf du Plessis ready to break new ground in Major League Cricket

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Cricket has long tried to break through in the United States, but it seems that it has finally found the right product to captivate the American sporting public.

Major League Cricket — appropriately named — is set to launch on Thursday (Friday, 4am SA time) in front of a full house at America’s new premier cricket venue, Grand Prairie Stadium, in North Texas.

The hometown Texas Super Kings will face off against the Los Angeles Knight Riders with both being subsidiary teams of Indian Premier League giants Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.

They will therefore be able to call on a host of the global game’s superstars, including former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis, who will lead the Texas Super Kings in the inaugural MLC tournament.

“Since we arrived in Texas, it’s been incredible to see the support for the Texas Super Kings. We can’t wait to get out on the field at Grand Prairie Stadium and represent the Lone Star State in front of a full house and be part of a special night for cricket in America!” Du Plessis said.

Fellow Proteas David Miller and Gerald Coetzee will join Du Plessis at TSK, while legendary West Indian T20 all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is also part of the squad. There is a further South African flavour added to the TSK pot with former Dolphins duo Calvan Savage and Cody Chetty along with former Proteas and Warriors seam bowler Rusty Theron registered as local American players after relocating to the US a few years ago.

Theron, 37, played 36 white-ball internationals for the Proteas, while also having IPL experience with the Deccan Chargers, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.

The LA Knight Riders, meanwhile, will feature Proteas top-order batter Rilee Rossouw along with West Indian superstar Andre Russell. Former Free State duo Shadley van Schalkwyk and Corne Dry also form part of the Knight Riders squad as “localised” Americans.

The four remaining teams MI Cape Town, San Francisco Unicorns, Seattle Orcas, and Washington Freedom will also have a large South African presence.

Proteas superstar Kagiso Rabada along with wunderkid Dewald Brevis will join up at MI New York again, while the Seattle Orcas will be led by Proteas all-rounder Wayne Parnell.

Parnell will be hoping his Proteas teammate Quinton de Kock strikes some form at the top of the order to fire up the Orcas’ batting unit. Gauteng teenager Matthew Tromp is also part of the Orcas’ squad.

Lungi Ngidi will be looking forward to some much-needed gametime with the San Francisco Unicorns after performing drinks duties throughout the IPL. He’s joined by “locals” left-arm seamer Carmi le Roux, who played for the Nelson Mandela Super Giants in the Mzansi Super League, and former Warriors batter David White.

Proteas top guns Anrich Nortje and Marco will form a fearsome new-ball duo at Washington Freedom where they will link up with former Proteas and Western Province off-spinner Dane Piedt and SA U19 all-rounder Justin Dill. Piedt’s last of his nine Test matches was against India in Ranchi in 2019.



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