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Be bowled over, Mzansi


All six franchises involved in the MSL T20 have pledged to provide the spectator with an unforgettable experience

South Africa's Faf du Plessis batts during the third One-Day International (ODI) match against Australia. Photo: Dean Lewins/EPA

SOUTH African cricket enters a brave new world this evening. When the first ball of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) is bowled at 7pm at Newlands, Cape Town, the new kid on the cricketing block will really shake things up.

Even the starting time of the match is unusual. Twenty20 night matches in South Africa have traditionally started at 6pm when broadcast by pay-channel SuperSport. But the MSL will not be hidden behind a paywall. It will be accessible to the masses through the SABC.

For this to happen, a few concessions needed to be made with popular soap operas, like Isidingo, being changed from their regular time slots.

Cricket, welcome to Mzansi!

There has been much upheaval about the structure of the tournament and who its major role-players should be, but the time has come to put all that aside and get behind a vehicle that has the ability to revolutionise the sport.

Cricket South Africa has routinely said that transformation is one of its major pillars. Through the MSL T20 it has the opportunity to reach a far greater audience, thereby creating much-needed heroes for the youth.

The tournament is a potential launch pad for young cricketers in South Africa to perform on a stage they could only dream of in the past. We have all seen the impact the Indian Premier League has had on the lives of many young cricketers on the subcontinent, and the MSL T20 could have the same impact, especially with the calibre of overseas players involved.

For too long the paying spectator has been taken for granted in this country, resulting in dwindling numbers of people attending sporting events.

But all six franchises involved in the MSL T20 have pledged to provide the spectator with an unforgettable experience.

So, whether you are a Spartan, Giant, Rocks, Heat, Blitz or Stars fan, get ready for the ride of your life over the next month.