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No more talk


All systems go as mzansi super League gets set to kick off in Cape Town this evening

THIS IS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT: Hashim Amla shows the Mzansi Super league trophy to the media at the Kingsmead stadium in Durban recently.

The big day on the South African cricket calendar has finally arrived, with the start of the much anticipated Mzansi Super League kicking off in Cape Town this evening.

It is a day that many had dared not believe would come, for whatever reason. And yet, today marks the start of an explosion of cricket across the country.

Durban will have its turn on Sunday, when the Heat host the Cape Town Blitz. Ahead of that new dawn, the Durban franchise has been very busy this week, with a double helping of practice matches on Wednesday.

There were encouraging signs in each match for the Heat, with an especially eye-catching 70 from Temba Bavuma (pictured) under lights.

“It was good to get out there as a team, and have a good workout,” the Test ace explained.

Bavuma and his teammates had a chance to recuperate yesterday afternoon, and he took to the fairways of Beachwood to unwind.

There were more than a few surprised glances when the popular middle-order star strolled into the clubhouse, because he has always come to Durban as a national player, or a visiting franchise player.

“It’s different,” he smiled.

“Durban is home for the next month, and that is quite exciting. We have had a week full of activities, and really gelled as a unit.”

Like many in the Durban Heat squad, he is excited about the make-up of the Durban playing staff, and wants to get stuck in.

“There is definitely a lot of potential there. I was looking at our batting line-up, and remembered that we still have David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen to add to that,” he smiled.

It is a potent unit, and they have all been made to feel at home, under the leadership of coach Grant Morgan and captain Albie Morkel.

“I worked with Grant in Under-19, and at Strikers and Lions. So I know him very well, and he also knows my game very well. It is nice to be able to work with someone like that again,” he said of the vastly travelled Morgan.

Bavuma also paid tribute to the calming influence of Morkel, who has immediately brought the squad together.

“He’s a leader, and you can see it comes naturally to him. It’s nice to play under him, and we just can’t wait to get going,” he added with genuine relish.

The waiting is finally over, of course, and now begins the very serious stuff of playing for new franchises and new identities.

Durban has new heroes in the likes of Bavuma, Klaasen, Morkel and Rashid Khan later in the competition, while the likes of Kyle Abbott are also back in familiar territory.

On paper, the Durban Heat are regarded as one of the potential winners of the whole thing.

But the time for speculating is over now.

It’s time for Mzansi action.