Ricochet News

VIDEO: Boucher to coach PE team in inaugural T20 Global League

By Marc Jacobson - Aug 24, 2017
VIDEO: Boucher to coach PE team in inaugural T20 Global League

The official team name and ‘Dream Team’ for the Port Elizabeth franchise was unveiled on Tuesday night for the inaugural T20 Global League, an internationally affiliated T20 cricket league unravelling onto South Africa’s shores for the first time ever, between 3 November and 16 December.

The team, owned by Dubai-based businessman and media magnate Ajay Sethi, will be named the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars for the duration of the T20 Global League and the side will be homed at the historical St. Georges Park – which is the first stadium to have also been granted LED flood lights for the league.

“Today is a very special occasion, we are proud that Ajay [Sethi] has chosen this franchise in Port Elizabeth, and it is not only going to offer an economic hub, but will also offer exciting times for the city and the people of the Nelson Mandela Bay,” expressed EP Cricket Chairman, Donovan May, at the unveiling.

Nelson Mandela always had a dream to unite the nation, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Starshave assembled a group together to live up to his name, while also being richly encompassed with the Eastern Cape.

“It is with such honour and a privilege to have a team that is named after the ‘Father of the Nation’, a global icon. It is also indeed a great honour to say that the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars will be the only sports team in history to carry the name of the greatest South African of them all,” announced Sethi.

“We wanted a team that would be founded with the same values that guided Madiba. My thanks to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality for embracing us with such generosity.”

“For us, this team is about being a big part of the Nelson Mandela Bay community and the Eastern Cape for years to come. We want the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars to be the people’s team,” Sethi added.

East London-born Proteas legendary wicket-keeper, Mark Boucher, who has taken a total 532 catches in Test cricket and 403 catches in ODIs behind the stumps, has been called upon to coach the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars.  

“For me as a coach, and us as a management team, as well as the players, we will have to understand the legacy of Nelson Mandela, and we have to live up to that name of the team; so that can certainly be something that we can use as a huge plus,” Boucher told RNEWS.

“There is so much cricketing history in this part of the world [Port Elizabeth], so it would have been really silly for PE not to get a franchise in the T20 Global League.”

“We have really well affiliated ambassadors in Graeme Pollock and Ntini [Makhaya], and hopefully we can be a part of something special, and add more to the history.”

“This is also great for South African cricket, some new challenges ahead, and we are all going into this fresh. The auctioning in itself may be a challenge, as we have to select a group of players that we feel will be important in our set-up and just roll the punches out after that.”

“I’m sure we will make it work, and hopefully the fans enjoy it and with the band behind us at St. Georges, I’m sure all the players, coaching staff and supporters will enjoy what the league has to offer PE,” Boucher concluded.

The King Williamstown-born Ntini, another Proteas bowling legend, who has taken 390 Test wickets and 266 ODI wickets respectively, will proudly serve as one of the team’s ambassadors for his home-provincial-based side.

Schooled at Grey High School in PE, former EP and South African star batsman, Graeme Pollock, who is also the uncle of legend Shaun Pollock, will accompany Ntini as ambassador of the side. Pollock has been deemed by many to have been one of the greatest batsmen in the history to have played the game.

Warriors’ coach, Malibongwe Maketa will serve as Assistant Coach; Zimbabwean bowling legend, Heath Streak will duty as Bowling Coach, while West Indian legendary big-hitter, Clive Lloyd, will also stand in as another ambassador for the PE side – who all make up the core of the franchise’s ‘Dream Team’.

In each franchise’s player bidding for the league, a maximum of five international players (including Kolpak players) can be selected for each side.

Each side has been assigned one Proteas marquee player, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars were privileged to receive the services of world number one ODI spinner, Imran Tahir.

10 international marquee players have already been confirmed, and will be assigned to each eight franchises accordingly. Those players are: Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Lasith Malinga, Brendon McCullum, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Kieron Pollard, Jason Roy and more recently, Alex Hales and Shahid Afridi.

A total 90 foreign players from 13 different countries have been shortlisted to represent in the T20 Global League.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stars team draft will be finalised and announced on Sunday.

Watch to get a view of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars unveiling, as well as commentary from cricket legends Mark Boucher and Makhaya Ntini.