Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone was a surprise first-round pick in the draft for South Africa’s Mzansi Super League on Tuesday. Livingstone, 26, a hard-hitting batsman and leg-spin bowler, was bought by the Cape Town Blitz franchise for a million rand.
Although his international experience is limited to two Twenty20 internationals for England in 2017, Livingstone has played in the Indian and Pakistan Twenty20 leagues with the Rajasthan Royals and Karachi Kings respectively.
He is joined in South Africa by countrymen Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Tom Curran, who had previously been named as international marquee players, earning R1.2-million each, for the Durban Heat, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and Tshwane Spartans.
English players dominated the foreign signings for the six franchises. Veteran batsman Ravi Bopara was bought by Durban Heat for R750,000 while England World Cup-winning squad member James Vince went to the Paarl Rocks for R350,000.
West Indian Chris Gayle was again signed as a marquee player for Jozi Stars, the defending champions, while Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz was assigned to the Cape Town Blitz and Isuru Udana of Sri Lanka joined the Paarl Rocks.
Jozi Stars retained Australian all-rounder Dan Christian while fellow Australian Ben Dunk was bought by Nelson Mandela Bay Giants. Pakistanis Asif Ali and Mohammad Nawaz were retained by Cape Town Blitz.
Seventeen-year-old Afghanistan left-arm wrist spinner Waqar Salamkheil, who took four wickets on his Test debut against Ireland in March, will join the Tshwane Spartans. He was a ninth-round choice for a fee of R180,000.
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Cricket South Africa said 184 foreign or South African Kolpak players had put their names forward for the draft. The overseas players will join South Africa’s leading cricketers, including some such as AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel who are unlikely to play any other cricket in their home country during the season.
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