Newlands Cricket Stadium, previously voted by The Cricketer magazine as the number-2 ranked cricket stadium on the globe, will host a world-class T20 team, the Kolkata Knight Riders during the T20 Global League in November – December this year.
Cricket South Africa announced the franchise owners and hosting cities in a ceremony in the UK on Monday, with local-boy JP Duminy confirmed as the marquee Proteas player assigned to the Cape Town franchise.
An international marquee player will be assigned to the Cape Town Knight Riders, as well as two rookies and there will be four non-local players per squad. Only players eligible for the Proteas are classified as local.
“I am extremely excited that the KKR team under the astute leadership of one of the world’s all-time greats who played his cricket under the shadows of the oaks, Jacques Kallis, will call Newlands home during the T20 Global League, said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA).
“The record of KKR is superlative and anybody playing against them will have a daunting task. Just remember that they were the champions in the Indian Premier League in 2012 and 2014 and a semi-finalist in 2017,” added Dien.
The local marquee players assigned to the eight franchise teams are Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir.
The international marquee players are Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Chris Gayle (West Indies), Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka), Brendon McCullum (New Zealand), Eoin Morgan (England), Kevin Pietersen (England), Kieron Pollard (West Indies) and Jason Roy (England).
“We don’t have any doubt that many of the top players would love to ply their trade at Newlands as this is one of the inspirational grounds in the world and its curator, Evan Flint, was recently crowned as the best groundsman in South Africa at the CSA awards ceremony,” commented Beresford Williams, president of the WPCA.
“Since the dawn of the new millennium, Newlands and the WPCA have been the nurseries that have produced 21 international players, while the Cobras have won eight titles since the inception of the franchise format in 2014/2015,” said David Brooke, Brand Activation and Sponsorship Manager of the WPCA
“Also, Newlands is undoubtedly the venue with the most die-hard fans in the country and any event with an international flavour usually draws a packed stadium. Recent examples that spring to mind was the Test against England in 2016 when more than 85 000 spectators attended,” Brooke added
“In the 2015/2016 season, more than 147 000 spectators turned up to support South Africa, and one can expect the same from the crowd, who will turn up in their tens of thousands to give their vocal and vociferous support to the Knight Riders at Newlands,” said Dien.
The owner of KKR with a 55 % shareholding is Shah Rukh Khan, an Indian film personality.
“We are looking forward to work in close co-operation with Mr Khan, Jacques (Kallis) and the rest of the management team,” Dien added.
“We are grateful to Cricket South Africa for the commitment they have made to upgrade all the international grounds, with an estimated R13m set to be spent on upgrading facilities at Newlands,” Dien concluded.
“We have little doubt that the association will serve the Newlands faithful, the players and the game of cricket, and also serve as a motivation to many aspiring young cricketers from all over the Western Cape to make cricket their game of choice. Yes, even cricket at grassroots level will be ignited by this announcement and the subsequent performances by KKR,” Williams said.
The announcement comes as Cricket South Africa recently earmarked more than R350 million to be invested on stadium refurbishment and upgrades over the next three years.