Proteas fast bowler, Lutho Sipamla, explosive batsman Diego Rosier and rising star Thando Ntini led the list of players bought at the 12th edition of the LPL Senior Player Auction in Johannesburg.
The glittering event kick-started the 2020 season, which will see eight teams in action with high-quality entertaining cricket on the cards.
Sipamla and Ntini, who both recently made career moves to the Imperial Lions and Multiply Titans this season, will be in action for the Wits Kudu’s, who bolstered their fast bowling department for the season.
Big names in SA cricket join the LPL party
The current back-to-back champions, Cavalier Cats boosted their squad with the purchase of promising youngsters, Kiel van Vollenhoven and Charlie Dowling who graduated from the Youth League, along with the experience of bowler Brady Barends. The Cats also unveiled their new CEO, Aarefa Vally, making her the first female CEO of a Franchise in the tournament’s history.
Bank All Stars, the most successful LPL Franchise with four titles, under the guidance of head coach Nish Mohamed, put in high bids for all-rounder Evan Jones – who was the highest bid of the night-, stroke-player Rynaro de Lange and Adriaan Calitz.
Talented Multiply Titans batsman, Diego Rosier, was brought in to lead the Queensland Griffins, along with the VKB Knights duo of, Mbulelo Budaza and Patrick Kruger and Imperial Lions bowler, Sean Jamison. The brains trust retained the experience of former South Africa U19 players Shaylen Pillay and Aubrey Swanepoel.
The Celestial Knights, who are always strong contenders for silverware, made their intention clear with a strong bid for young all-rounder, Donavan Ferreira, who was part of nine new recruits to the squad including Ad Gagiano, Gift Nzimande and Thabiso Maloi.
The People’s team, the Mzansi Hawks, will be hoping to soar to new heights and further up the table this season. The management team assembled a new-look team brimming with talent and potential with the transfer of Murray Workman, Michael Enslin and Martin van Wyk ushering in new blood.
Sporting Supermen, who feature one of the strongest junior structures in the League, will be hoping to change their fortunes this year after a few frustrating seasons languishing at the bottom section of the log. The acquisition of experienced all-rounder, Malcolm Nofal could be the boost they need to add to the list of retained players.
The Jozi Warriors bought eleven new players in an effort to improve on their last place finish last year. They only retained four players in Ryk Eksteen, Phillip Voigt, Nhlanhla Mashigo and Nabeel Ahmad.
LPL founder, Ziyaad Desia, started the LPL 12 years ago with only four teams and a vision of creating a cricketing eco-system for excellence and camaraderie, a vision that has changed the landscape for community cricket.
“The NPL breaks down any barriers which may exist between people,” he said. “It has the ability to unify through the game we all love while providing clear pathways for talented players. Congratulations to everyone who was part of the auction. The future is here!
CoachED to partner NPL
Former Proteas player and coach, Gary Kirsten, says the global growth of the NPL is an exciting prospect for the cricket community in South Africa. Kirsten’s CoachED – an online coaching education platform- was announced as a partner of the NPL on the evening, bringing together a global coaching community for local coaches aspiring to take their coaching to the next level.
“As CoachED, it is great to be partnering up with the NPL, we are excited about the partnership,” Kirsten said. “We know what value the NPL brings to the cricket community in South Africa and obviously now in Australia and the rest of the world.”
Renowned commentator and cricket enthusiast, Mark Nicholas, says the NPL is here to stay and hopes the growth towards the Australian market will open up more doors to other regions including the UK.
“The auction night is always an exciting occasion for any franchise tournament,” Nicholas said via video link from London. “I see the whole concept as something unique and special as it provides opportunity for young and experienced cricketers to play the game that I love, and we all love. More power to the international elbow of the NPL which is already on its way to Australia, maybe I can do something in London as well. The NPL, which is made up of franchised, privatised club cricket is here to stay!”
The LPL has been endorsed by the Central Gauteng Lions (CGL), who on the evening, further pledged their support and commitment to making the tournament a success. The LPL, under the auspices of the NPL, has grown to be become an important feeder system to the Gauteng cricketing community. Every season has unearthed new talent and potential and continues to provide the cricket fraternity with entertaining and high-quality cricket while embracing the infectious true spirit of the game.