As Mzansi Super League mania builds on the shores of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban Heat spin king Keshav Maharaj is hoping to use the upcoming tournament as a stepping stone to a more permanent spot in the South African limited-overs sides.
Maharaj’s rise in the Test arena has been remarkable, with a return of 90 Test wickets in the 21 Test matches that he has played in. With only four one-day internationals to his name, he is hoping that by leaving a mark on the MSL he can become a more regular white ball cricketer for the Proteas.
‘I have always wanted to play all three formats for South Africa and I know that this tournament can be a stepping stone if all goes according to plan,’ the Dolphins star said.
The Northwood High School old boy set out a blueprint that he will need to follow in order to push for higher honours in the white ball formats.
‘I am going to need to score more runs, take wickets, but also show that I can keep my economy rate down. T20 cricket helps hugely in developing your 50 overs skills because you are constantly bowling in pressure situations; and always having to think on your feet and try and find new ways to get wickets,’ Maharaj added.
Maharaj has spent his entire career in KwaZulu-Natal, bringing with him a strong sense of pride and honour for Durban and KZN. His Kingsmead experience and local knowledge will be a strong advantage for him and his Heat spinning partners, Rashid Khan and Brandon Mavuta.
‘Firstly I was really grateful to be selected at the auction, but to be selected for the Durban Heat was something that I was really hoping for. I’m really looking forward to representing Durban on a stage that is on a higher level than our domestic T20 tournament.
‘It is going to be a really strong competition and the MSL is going to give guys a great platform to showcase their talents. It is a tournament that South African cricketers have been wanting for a long time and I hope that it can grow into something as big as the most popular T20 tournaments around the world,’ added Maharaj.
With the likes of Maharaj, Khan and Mavuta as the Heat’s spinning options, the Afghan star and the Zimbabwean are both wrist spinners while Maharaj gives coach Grant Morgan a left-arm finger spinning option.
In Khan, the Durban Heat have the number one T20 bowler in the world and with his international experience Maharaj will come out the other side of the MSL a better white ball bowler.
Durban Heat Fixtures
18 Nov 11:00 Durban Heat v Cape Town Blitz Kingsmead, Durban
21 Nov 14:00 Durban Heat v Tshwane Spartans Kingsmead, Durban
23 Nov 19:00 Nelson Mandela Giants v Durban Heat St George’s, Port Elizabeth
28 Nov 19:00 Durban Heat v Paarl Rocks Kingsmead, Durban
30 Nov 19:00 Jozi Stars v Durban Heat Bidvest Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
02 Dec 11:00 Paarl Rocks v Durban Heat Eurolux Boland Park, Paarl
05 Dec 19:00 Durban Heat v Nelson Mandela Giants Kingsmead, Durban
07 Dec 14:00 Durban Heat v Jozi Stars Kingsmead, Durban
09 Dec 15:30 Cape Town Blitz v Durban Heat PPC Newlands, Cape Town
12 Dec 19:00 Tshwane Spartans v Durban Heat SuperSport Park, Centurion
Durban Heat Squad
Marchant de Lange
Morne van Wyk
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gameplan Media