Five West Indies players are among the big franchise signings for the Ram Slam T20 Challenge which gets under way on Sunday, 2 November.
‘I am delighted to announce that our franchises have recruited some of the world’s best T20 players,’ said tournament director and former Proteas captain Graeme Smith. ‘In my discussions with all the super stars it has been satisfying to note their eagerness to play in the Ram Slam as they regard South Africa as one of the best cricket leagues in the world.’
The five West Indies internationals are Kieron Pollard, who has signed for the Cape Cobras, Dwayne Bravo (Dolphins), Andre Russell (Knights), Chris Gayle (Lions) and Darren Sammy (Titans), while the Warriors have secured the services of the South African-raised England batsman Craig Kieswetter.
There had been speculation that Kevin Pietersen was also coming to South Africa, but sources say that while he was approached, financially it was too challenging to put together.
And Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara was a late withdrawal after his country had agreed to tour India during November, following the pulling out of West Indies over a pay dispute.
‘The triple header concept was a huge success last season and one cannot think of a better way to launch the competition with a triple header featuring all the franchise line-ups at the Wanderers,’ Smith added.
Cricket SA chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, expressed his delight at the quality of the overseas signings. ‘We are determined to raise the standard and profile of our domestic cricket and there is no doubt that these top class international players will entertain our fans over the next six weeks,’ he said. ‘With our Proteas stars coming into the competition during the latter stages when they return from Australia the Ram Slam will be a competition to follow keenly.’
The announcement of the international signings comes just days after the sponsors announced a major fan incentive.
The #GetCaughtRedHanded competition will see every fan at the stadium during televised matches stand a chance to win a share of R1-million. This competition will also get under way during this weekend’s triple header and spectators attending televised matches are required to take a clean one-handed catch in order to qualify.
Triple header matches – Sunday, 2 November
10am: Knights vs Warriors
2pm: Cape Cobras vs Titans
6pm: Lions vs Dolphins