Jason Roy gives clout to Giants
Powerful England batsman Jason Roy will provide the fireworks at the top of the order for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants when the Mzansi Super League T20 cracks into action in November.
The SA-born opener landed the role of the Giants’ marquee player at the player draft held at Montecasino on Wednesday.
He was joined in the Giants’ 16-man squad by Proteas allrounder Chris Morris, who was the first pick made by the Giants in the opening round of the draft.
Both are vastly experienced in the shortest version of the game and will add great value to the
Port Elizabeth franchise.
Also in the squad, which has Imran Tahir as its SA marquee star, are Warriors players allrounder Jon-Jon Smuts, Christiaan “The Finisher” Jonker, seamer Sisanda Magala and batsman Marco Marais, who took the recent Africa T20 Cup by storm.
The other players with international experience are Titans seamer Junior Dala, England wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Duckett, Lions spinner Aaron Phangiso, allrounder Ryan McLaren and another keeper-batsman, Heino Kuhn.
The squad is a balanced one and looks to have all the bases covered in terms of batting, allrounders and quick bowlers.
And with St George’s Park expected to assist the spinners, the Giants have heaps of experience in wrist-spinner Tahir and leftarm spinners Smuts and Phangiso.
The challenge the six teams face is none of the international marquee players will be available for the full tournament because of commitments to international cricket and a T10 tournament in Abu Dhabi, but they will all be available for the last 13 days of the SA event.
Allrounder Morris, who was picked up in the R1m salary bracket, appealed to the public to get behind the Giants starting on November 16.
“It’s going to be a very exciting league. We haven’t had one in South Africa yet so being the first one it’s really exciting,” Morris said on Wednesday.
“Hopefully it will draw the crowds in because there are some world-class players on show.
“Some of the guys who have retired from international cricket are coming out to play again. Some of the world’s best players will be in action and it’s a place for young players who have been picked to show what they can do.”
Asked how it felt to be picked first in the draft by the Giants management led by coach Eric Simons, Morris said: “I’m very humbled. It’s always nice to know you are wanted.
“For me to go first in the draft was a special feeling. It’s a special honour and going to PE is going to be very good. It’s a good hunting ground for me.
“We have got some good players in the squad and it's shaping up very nicely.
“We have built a really, really good squad which suits our conditions really well.
“I quite dig the name. I’m quite a big American football fan so to be linked with the Giants is pretty cool.”
The other million-rand players were David Miller, Dane Vilas, Tabraiz Shamsi, Andile Phehlukwayo and Lungi Ngidi.
Six other Warriors players were picked in the draft. Anrich Nortje has a gig with the Cape Town Blitz while Gihan Cloete will join teammates Andrew Birch and Lutho Sipamla at the Tshwane Spartans. Simon Harmer and Sinethemba Qeshile are at the Jozi Stars.
The tournament finishes on December 16.
Squad, salary bands
Imran Tahir (undisclosed), Jason Roy (England, undisclosed), Chris Morris (R1m), Jon-Jon Smuts (R900,000), Junior Dala (R750,000), Christiaan Jonker (R650,000), Aaron Phangiso (R550,000), Ben Duckett (England, R350,000), Sisanda Magala (R250,000), Ryan McLaren (R200,000), Heino Kuhn (R180,000), Marco Marais (R150,000), Rookie Dylan Matthews (rookie, R120,000), Lizaard Williams (R100,000), Rudi Second (R75,000), Carmi le Roux (R50,000).