South African cricketers love the IPL, and we hope the feeling is mutual.
In so many ways, the IPL has taken our game to a new level. The quality of play is exceptional. Most of the star-studded franchises would defeat most international teams most of the time. The spectacle is outstanding with enthusiastic crowds creating a buzz at every game. The economics are unprecedented with many players earning more in these seven weeks than the rest of the year.
Cricket South Africa long ago recognised the significance and impact of the IPL, ensuring that the Proteas do not play during the tournament. This created opportunities for the South African players. In contrast, other national governing bodies have chosen to bury their heads in the sand, scheduling international matches against the IPL and preventing their players from being involved.
There are no fewer than 15 South Africans playing in IPL 9, distributed across seven of the eight teams.
My teammates at Royal Challengers Bangalore are David Wiese, a quality all-rounder, and now (spinner) Tabraiz Shamsi, who joined the squad the day before our game against Pune, bowled his first over to Dhoni and Rahane, and passed the test with flying colours.
JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock and Chris Morris have been flying the flag for Delhi Daredevils, where we will surely soon see Imran Tahir show his class. Faf du Plessis is a top-order batsman for Rising Pune Supergiants, where all-rounder Albie Morkel will soon make his mark because his performances in last year’s SA T20 competition were extraordinary. Marchant de Lange is playing for Mumbai Indians, where his raw pace will prove an asset.