The Durban Heat brains trust have finalised their squad for the upcoming Mzansi Super League following the player draft in Kliptown on Tuesday morning.
The team for this year's edition of the competition will see the Durban Heat carry a strong local flavour to it with eight of the fourteen players selected hailing from KwaZulu-Natal, while Dane Vilas comes into the side having spent the past two seasons with the Hollywoodbets Dolphins.
Englishman Ravi Bopara returns to Durban once again following two stints with the Dolphins, firstly back in 2010 and then he represented the franchise again in the domestic T20 competition in 2013.
With a strong local connection coach Gary Kirsten, who has coached in T20 leagues around the world, is using this as an important corner stone for the side.
"People say the key to success is to build a team culture but in the T20 age you don't have much time," Kirsten said. "I think you need to pick match winners, have a lot of fun, try and build some sort of identity to the region because the fans are so important and build some hype around your home ground."
The Heat have covered all of their bases with the squad that they have selected with a wide variety in the bowling attack from the right-arm pace of Daryn Dupavillon, the left-arm pace of Marco Jansen, experienced seam in Kyle Abbott, Andile Phehlukwayo, Malusi Siboto and Ravi Bopara and a left-arm spinner in Keshav Maharaj, an off spinner in Prenalen Subrayen and a leg spinner in Shaun von Berg.
With that variation in the attack there should be cover for all conditions, especially at the coastal grounds where the scores might not be as high.
"On the slower wickets 150 and 160 scores will be par and then you squeeze with your bowlers. I think that we have got good variety in our attack with Dupavillon who does offer us some pace. But like any team the most important thing is that you have options.
"We might go two seamers and three spinners, we have that option and can go with spin up front if we need to.
"We have all-rounders and Bopara bowls really well on slow wickets so he is almost like a spinner so we have picked a side that is well suited for the conditions were we will play half our games."
Dane Vilas captained the Jozi Stars to the title in the inaugural MSL last season and will be a crucial cog in the Durban Heat machine with his quick hands behind the stumps and clean striking.
International Marquee Player Alex Hales, Proteas star David Miller, Sarel Erwee, Khaya Zondo, Wihan Lubbe, Vilas, Bopara and Phehlukwayo will be the men entrusted with scoring the bulk of the runs for the Heat this term.
The Durban Heat will wait until the end of the upcoming 2019 Provincial T20 Knock-Out before they fill the fifteenth spot in their squad via a wild card that every franchise has been given.
More information can be found at www.durbanheat.co.za.
Durban Heat Squad:
Andile Phehlukwayo, Alex Hales, David Miller (retained player), Dane Vilas, Ravi Bopara, Keshav Maharaj (retained player), Kyle Abbott (retained player), Khaya Zondo (retained player), Marco Jansen, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee (retained player), Malusi Siboto, Prenelan Subrayen, Wihan Lubbe, Shaun von Berg.