Former Proteas head coach Eric Simons has been named as Stephen Fleming’s assistant to the Stellenbosch Monarchs for the T20 Global League.
The Monarchs will make Boland Park in Paarl their official home and are the latest T20GL franchise to unveil its name and logo.
In a cricketing coup for the franchise, legendary former New Zealand captain Fleming has been appointed head coach, with former Proteas coach Simons appointed as his assistant. Fleming has a series of records to his name and is widely considered as one of his country’s finest captains and best batsmen, after an international career that spanned 15 years. The combination of New Zealand’s highly regarded ex-captain and Western Cape cricketing stalwart Simons can only spell success for the Monarchs.
Faf du Plessis, Protea and T20 Global League marquee player, said, ‘It’s great to have the experience and knowledge of a world great like Stephen Fleming in our set-up.
‘I’m really looking forward to playing at Boland Park. Having a local T20 league will attract some big names to this beautiful part of our country and I’m privileged to be representing this team,’ explained the Proteas Test and T20 captain.
Fleming said, ‘We want to play an exciting brand of cricket and challenge for top honours. Together with Eric Simons we aim to bring out the best in the team from the onset.’
The winelands provides the perfect setting for the action-packed T20 league, thanks to its warm Mediterranean-like climate. The people are well-known for their love of sport, and with the university town Stellenbosch close by, the many students will undoubtedly lend a fresh-faced energy to the fast-paced League.
Fans will also be impressed by Boland Park’s recent refurbishment to the tune of R32-million. Having recognised the need to improve stadium facilities, Cricket South Africa has earmarked a substantial budget to ensure multiple stadium upgrades are made at a national level, bringing them up to a world-class standard. Work has begun and will be completed before the start of the new season, ready for the much-anticipated T20 Global League tournament to kick off in November 2017.
CSA chief executive, Haroon Lorgat added, ‘We are currently engaged in promising discussions with several interested parties, both local and abroad, who are interested in owning the Stellenbosch franchise.’
With Paarl as the host city, credit must also be given to the Drakenstein municipality, whose R9-million contribution is ensuring upgrades to the floodlights. In addition, upgrades are under way with the ticketing systems, changing rooms and seating areas, providing an improved experience for fans and players.
‘We are proud to be a host city and offer our support to the T20 Global League. This is an amazing opportunity for our whole region to be part of a world-class, international cricket league – something that we haven’t had the chance to do in over 50 years. I know the communities from towns surrounding Paarl, like Wellington, Franschhoek, Worcester, Ceres, Robertson and Stellenbosch will get behind the team,’ says Drakenstein local municipality mayor, Conrad Poole.
The logo design was inspired by the mountains of the Cape winelands, which provide for a distinctive icon at the heart of the Monarch’s crest. Mountains are a unifying feature of the region and symbolically represent the team’s ambition to achieve great heights and their strong spirit. These mountains are encircled by a protective royal crown, representing the pride in the region that the team plays for, and the qualities of excellence and leadership. The choice of burgundy and blue reflect the area’s long association with winemaking under the intense blue skies, while the bright cyan and gold elements give the crest its vibrancy, energy and youth appeal.
The player draft is scheduled for 26-27 August, with almost 400 players from 10 countries confirming their interest.