TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
SOUTH Africa’s on-field contribution to the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) amounts to nine players in four of the eight franchises.
Between them they will earn R87.3-million – which will no doubt put a gleam in the eye of finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
In terms of the new wealth tax of 45% Gordhan announced in Wednesday’s Budget, that means the IPL will pump almost R39.3-million into the country’s coffers.
Kagiso Rabada hit the headlines when he was sold to the Delhi Daredevils for R9.8-million at the player auction in Bangalore on Monday.
But he is only fourth among the tournament’s best-paid South Africans.
Heading the queue is David Miller, who will make R24.4-million.
AB de Villiers will earn R18.5-million, and Rabada’s Lions teammate Chris Morris R13.6-million.
Miller, De Villiers and Morris were retained by their franchises and were, therefore, not up for auction on Monday.
The other retained South Africans are, in order of earnings, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla and Tabraiz Shamsi.
Together they will make R3.4-million less than Miller.
None of the above figures take into account Gordhan’s cut.
South Africans might wonder which team to support when fireworks, cheerleaders and the most bumptious television commentators in all of cricket signal the start of the tournament on April 5.
If numbers mean anything they might plump for Delhi, which is home to Rabada, De Kock, Morris, Duminy and Paddy Upton – the former South Africa team director who is the Daredevils’ head coach.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have De Villiers and Shamsi, and Kings XI Punjab lay claim to Miller and Amla.
Du Plessis will have no-one to speak Afrikaans to in the Rising Pune Supergiants dressingroom.
Except, perhaps, Eric Simons, Pune’s bowling coach.
Besides Upton and Simons, six South Africans are dotted around the support staffs.
Jacques Kallis is the head coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders, who also have Mark Boucher as their fielding coach, Adrian le Roux as a fitness specialist, and Mike Horn – he of 2015 World Cup infamy – as a “motivational advisor”.
Allan Donald is in Bangalore’s colours as their bowling coach, and Jonty Rhodes takes charge of fielding with the Mumbai Indians.
If it seems as if South Africa’s IPL footprint has shrunk, that’s because it has.
Last year the tournament featured Imran Tahir, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien and David Wiese – all of whom went unsold this year – Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel – who are injured – and Marchant de Lange and Albie Morkel – who were not up for auction.
And now there are only nine, plus that slew of coaches.
Money talks, they say. But can it play cricket?