Kevin Pietersen and Chris Gayle will return to SA as two of eight marquee players for this year’s inaugural #T20 Global Destination League.
The inaugural domestic T20 showcase will see two of its most prominent international stars return to South African shores for the shortest format. Pietersen, who has spent the past two seasons with the Dolphins, will put himself up for auction as the prospective owners of the eight franchises will aim to put forward the highest bids possible to get first pick from the eight international players available.
Pietersen has an incredible record with the Dolphins, having notched up 599 runs from the 12 matches he played in 2015 and 2016. Two of his three career T20 centuries have come playing for the Durban franchise, as well as four half-centuries, at a phenomenal strike rate of 164.56.
‘I am delighted to have signed for the new Global Destination T20 tournament in South Africa,’ Pietersen said. ‘South Africa, as everyone knows, is very close to my heart. So being a part of something innovative in their cricketing structure really excites me. I am sure the public will support this wonderful creation which will showcase a lot of the world’s best players.’
The former England international, who boasts the record for the most international runs for his country across the formats, will be far from guaranteed a spot back in his home town due to the nature of the auction. Gayle won’t necessarily be playing for the Lions either, after his incredible display for the Johannesburg-based side in 2014. In the eight matches he played that season, he scored 257 runs with a high score of 108 not out, as well as two fifties. South African cricket fans will be delighted to welcome back the ferocious West Indian.
‘I look forward to returning to South Africa as I have very happy memories of my time there,’ Gayle said. ‘This included scoring the first ever century in T20 International cricket when the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 was held in South Africa in 2007.’
Brendon McCullum meanwhile is arguably one of the highest-profile players to be making his domestic bow in South Africa.
The 35-year-old New Zealander brings 269 T20 matches and over 7 000 runs to the table, having enjoyed stints with as many as 15 different domestic franchises. His 158 not out for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the first-ever IPL game is the second-largest score in the tournament’s history, only behind Gayle’s 175 for the Royal Chalengers Bangalore. He also possesses the record for the fastest century in Test history, off just 54 balls against Australia in his final Test.
‘I very much enjoy the conditions in South Africa and it was an easy decision to make myself available for this tournament,’ said McCullum. ‘I enjoy the way South Africans play the game and the way their fans interact with the players as well.’
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