Grant Morgan believes his Durban Heat squad has “a lot of meat on the bone” and hopes that this will transform to success in the inaugural Mzansi Super League season that gets underway next week.
The MSL T20 competition was launched last month, with preparations racing along at a high pace as organisers bid to deliver the perfect first edition.
Following confirmation of the six city-based franchise teams in early October, the allocation of marquee national players followed, before the highly-anticipated Player Draft mid-month revealed the various playing squads.
After plenty of strategising, the Heat ended up with arguably the best squad – on paper at least. Thirteen of their 16 players have international experience, with names like Hashim Amla, David Miller, Albie Morkel and Heinrich Klaasen signed, along with international marquee and rising global star, Rashid Khan of Afghanistan.
“We’re just happy with what we’ve got,” Morgan said. “I think it’s an excellent squad.
“The draft itself had a good rhythm all the way through it and I felt we were balanced. We nailed our spine quickly, we got through to our 10 overs and our batting power players.
“From there we felt we could add meat to the bone and it kind of went that way for us. We ended up in a really healthy state and with a bone that has a lot of meat on it.”
But Morgan does not feel that a good squad necessarily means success. He believes everything needs to click for the Heat to make a strong impression on the competition.
“The ideal T20 game is when you make 720, that means you hit every ball for six, and you bowl the other side out for nought,” he stated. “I think somewhere in between, and obviously being a bit cynical, I feel that we can bowl sides out, I feel we can put pressure to be able to get 180 plus because our bowling and out batting kind of links in and we have a deeper set of guys.”
Morgan was also satisfied with the batting depth that Heat boasted.
“A Rashid Khan at nine or a Keshav Maharaj down there can still hit you 10 off three balls to win a game, so we’re covered from that aspect,” he continued. “We’ve got pace in (Marchant) De Lange and we’ve got experience through seven different players who have captained franchise teams, there are a number of Proteas too.
“And we sit with a couple of players whose white-ball credentials have been questioned. They will want to prove otherwise and I think that might be the magic we need.”
Like most of the teams, the Heat also chose to sign several of their regular franchise players, with six drafted by Morgan. They are Miller, Keshav Maharaj, Khaya Zondo, Morne van Wyk, Okuhle Cele and Sarel Erwee. Amla and Kyle Abbott also have plenty of history with the Durban side.
“We needed to make provision for when the Proteas were away, so we brought in players accordingly,” added Morgan on the logic behind their selections. “That’s where the local Dolphins players will be important.
“Hopefully they can do the job for us then and I think a good start will be important in that respect. Then we’ll be hoping that those that come in later will make that impact we need to finish the competition strongly.”
The Heat begin their campaign with a home clash against the Cape Town Blitz at Kingsmead next Sunday, November 18.
All the matches of the MSL T20 will be broadcast exclusively live by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on its television and radio platforms, with global coverage to come via the Global Sports Commerce (GSC), who Cricket South Africa (CSA) have brought in as international commercial and broadcast partner from 2018 to 2022.
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