The six million-Rand men of the Mzansi Super League

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Six stars of South African cricket were afforded million-Rand contracts to turn out in the Mzansi Super League after being their respective franchises first local picks in the draft that took place on Wednesday.

Five of those players are Proteas white-ball squad members while one, Dane Vilas, is a former Protea who signed a Kolpak deal with Lancashire in 2016 but he has been a key performer in the Dolphins squads as well as performing well in England.

The six first round picks and their teams were:

Chris Morris – Nelson Mandela Bay Giants

Morris is no stranger to massive T20 deals having already secured himself a million dollar deal to play his trade in the IPL. The allrounder is a proven match-winner and the Giants would have been thrilled to add him to their roster with the knowledge that they already had opener Jason Roy and spin wizard Imran Tahir to call on. Morris can be a devastating finisher and is a clever bowler capable of topping 140kmph with his effort ball.

Lungi Ngidi – Tshwane Spartans

Ngidi has made a massive splash in all three formats of the game since making his T20I debut against Sri Lanka in 2017. Ngidi proved his worth as a bowler in the Indian Premier League where he helped the Chennai Super Kings make a victorious return to the biggest domestic T20 tournament in the world. Ngidi combines raw pace with a good bowling brain and is one of the Proteas brightest prospects.

Andile Phehlukwayo – Cape Town Blitz

The young Proteas allrounder is known for being calm under pressure with both bat and ball in hand. He has shown himself to be a fantastic finisher as well as a devilish death bowler full of tricks. Used to plying his trade in Durban he will be joined by fellow Dolphin Sibonelo Makhanya as well as Proteas teammates Quinton de Kock, Dale Steyn and Farhaan Behardien.

Tabraiz Shamsi – Paarl Rocks

The Paarl Rocks are shaping up to be the squad for entertainers with Tabraiz Shamsi joining a franchise that already had in their ranks arguably cricket’s best dancer in Darren Bravo. Shamsi’s trademark exuberant celebrations could combine with Bravo’s in Fortnite-esque fashion which is sure to delight the crowds in the Boland. The spinner has also been the pre-eminent performer with the ball in domestic white-ball cricket for the last two seasons.

Dane Vilas – Jozi Stars

Vilas was the first wicketkeeper picked up at the draft and also the first of five Kolpak players selected by the new franchises. The Stars will no doubt hope that Vilas takes young wicketkeeper batsman Sinethemba Qeshile under his wing and helps South African cricket get the most out of the talented young man. Vilas has been in consistently good form with the bat since leaving the Cobras for Lancashire and agreeing to join the Dolphins as one of their quota of Kolpak players.

David Miller – Durban Heat

Miller returned to the east coast at the beginning of this season after two seasons with the Knights franchise as part of a big push to be at his best for the 2019 World Cup and he will no doubt be thrilled to have been awarded a six figure deal even if he was the sixth pick of the round. Miller holds the world record for the fastest T20I century which he blazed against Bangladesh in 2017 at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.