A kaleidoscope of smoke christened the Moyo Pier at the Durban Heat launch on Friday, 26 October. Guests watched as three of the Durban-raised players answered questions ahead of the Mzansi Super League tournament to start on Sunday, 18 November.
CEO of KZN Cricket, Heinrich Strydom said that the vision was to get as many local players as possible and fill the other spots with match winners and with 13 international cricketers and eight Hollywoodbets Dolphins.
“We were pretty nervous going into the draft but we are really happy with how our team came out in the end,” said Strydom. Coach Grant Morgan said that players from around the globe would be joining the team.
“From a point of view of gathering people in a draft its got to be the first time that we’ve drafted players which means that we’ve got players that belong to all kinds of other teams coming into one here in Durban, so that there’s a new home for players. Albie Morkel from the Titans is now a Durban Heat player, Rushie Khan from Afganistan and various franchises he plays for is now associated with us. I think that’s the exciting thing and people will have to get used to it, because people arent used to seeing Albie Morkel play for any other team but the Titans, but that’s the fun of it,” said Morgan.
Morgan added that he had many sleepless nights in the build up to the draft and he heaped praise on his brains trust for picking the best possible squad in the end. “Having Imraan (Khan) there helping was hugely important and we plotted and planned as many different outcomes as we could. To have him, the CEO and our convenor of selectors there helped hugely in us making all our decisions for the right reasons,” Morgan commented.
Dave Macleod, media spokesperson for Durban Heat said that the buzz and enthusiasm that had been created around the Durban Heat team had placed them head and shoulders above the rest before they had even bowled the first ball of the competition. “We know there is such a passion and a love for the game of cricket and such a fondness for Kingsmead as a stadium, Durban people just need to take that step to get into the gate and get behind the team,” he said.
“I think our fans are looking for something new, we’ve gone through the same routine every year and I think our fans got bored, to be honest. Now we have something that is really fresh and new, we’ve got some big names coming in from overseas to spice it up a little. The fans asked for something new and they’ve definitely got something new and with the Durban weather playing its part, I think we should have a fantastic November and December,” added Macleod. The Heat welcomed back Kyle Abbott to Durban after many years with the Dolphins and he is looking forward to contributing to the side.
“It’s great to be involved in a tournament like this in your home country. I’ve always loved playing cricket at Kingsmead and I cannot wait to get back there and play in front of the Durban faithful,” said the former Protea.The concept behind the colourful Durban Heat brand signifies Durban as the most vibrant city in the country
“Durban is the most colourful, it has the most culture and the most energy of any city in this country and I think we are all in agreement with Durban Tourism that Durban is the warmest place to be,” said Duke Makina at the launch.