The CSA T20 League saw massive interest from the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises. Six teams were up for sale ahead of the inaugural season and all of them were bought by the owners of teams currently in the IPL.
Mumbai Indians (MI), the most successful IPL franchise, bought the Cape Town team. Their arch-rivals and four-time winners Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have acquired the Johannesburg franchise.
Delhi Capitals (DC) introduced their sister franchise Pretoria Capitals on Tuesday (July 26) and IPL 2022 debutants Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) bought the Durban team.
Former champions SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) will own the Gqeberha franchise in the CSA T20 League. Inaugural IPL champions and last year's finalists Rajasthan Royals (RR) have invested in the Paarl franchise.
Back in 2008, ahead of the first IPL season, the organizers allowed the teams to sign one icon player each that would help them in marketing and branding. If Cricket South Africa wants to gain the attention of fans around the world, they should consider allowing teams to sign one of the IPL's former stars.
In this listicle now, we will look at the one retired icon player each franchise could potentially rope in for the inaugural CSA T20 League.
(Note: Lucknow Super Giants have not been considered because they have played only one IPL season.)
#1 Chennai Super Kings - Albie Morkel
Former South African all-rounder Albie Morkel was one of the biggest match-winners for CSK during the initial IPL seasons. He played 78 games for Chennai, scoring 827 runs and scalping 76 wickets.
Morkel retired a few years ago, but he still plays in the Legends League and did well for the World Giants in the LLC T20 2022. Should the opportunity open up, Morkel stands a chance of earning a lucrative deal from CSK to play for Johannesburg in the inaugural CSA T20 League.
#2 SunRisers Hyderabad - Eoin Morgan
Former England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan surprised the cricket community by announcing his retirement from international cricket this year. Morgan is still open to playing in franchise cricket.
Not many fans would know that Morgan's best performance for an IPL franchise came when he played for SRH. In 16 matches, Morgan scored 310 runs at an average of 23.85 for the Hyderabad-based franchise.
Considering their past association, SRH's team owners could ask Morgan to play for Gqeberha in CSA T20 League.
#3 Delhi Capitals - Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen's consortium was one of the bidders in the auction for CSA T20 League franchise. It proved that Pietersen was interested in the tournament, and after failing to buy a team, he could weigh up joining a franchise as a retired icon player.
Pietersen played 19 IPL matches for Delhi Capitals (then the Delhi Daredevils), aggregating 599 runs at an average of close to 40. His only IPL ton came when he played for the Delhi-based franchise.
Given his recent exploits in the Legends League, Pietersen could be a good option to bat for the Pretoria Capitals in the top-order.
#4 Mumbai Indians - Kieron Pollard
Mumbai Indians and Kieron Pollard have been associated with each other for over a decade. Pollard agreed to stay with MI last year as the last player on the retention list, indicating that he wants to play for MI his entire career.
With Pollard announcing his retirement from international cricket, the former West Indies captain could even be named the skipper of the Cape Town team.
#5 Rajasthan Royals - Yusuf Pathan
Yusuf Pathan played an integral role in Rajasthan Royals' inaugural IPL title win in 2008. Pathan's all-round brilliance helped RR capture the championship. He was recently spotted with the RR team owners during the IPL 2022 final in Ahmedabad.
It should not come as a surprise if the Royals ask Pathan to play a few matches in the CSA T20 League for Paarl. He seemed to be in good touch during this year's Legends League matches as well.
Should Cricket South Africa think of introducing an icon player rule for the inaugural season of their T20 League? Let us know in the comments below.
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