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Cricket | IPL

Robin Peterson © Gallo Images

Big bucks, big hits and big names

Eight South African players will take part in what is arguably cricket's most exciting tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL), which gets under way on Wednesday.

"It's an action packed tournament for eight weeks - glitz, glamour, boundaries, sixes and interacting with international stars. I think it's as close to a World Cup as you will get and it's probably the premier T20 tournament in the world," says former Protea allrounder Robin Peterson who played for the Mumbai Indians in 2012. 2017 marks the tenth edition of the IPL and South African fans have plenty to look forward to from a patriotic perspective with representation in four of the eight teams.

"I think it's always crucial for them to rub shoulders with the best in the world. We always searching for that elusive World Cup and any little thing they can pick up from guys that have been there and won World Cups under pressure can only bode well. I think it's essential for our guys to go there as much as there can," expressed Peterson.

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Superstar AB de Villiers will once again play at his home away from home in Bangalore for the Royal Challengers along side fellow Titans and Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.

"Shamsi might not get a lot of games at Bangalore, but once the tournament progresses and it starts turning, then he is going to come into the picture. We all know what AB de Villiers can do, he is probably the biggest national player outside of India," Peterson explained.

De Villiers has been ruled out of the team's opening game of the season due to injury, but it is hoped that he will be in action against the Delhi Daredevils on April 8.

Proteas test skipper Faf du Plessis will once again turn out for the Rising Pune Supergiants where he is joined by the world's premier T20 international spinner Imran Tahir. The legspinner was originally snubbed at the auction, but received an SOS call when Australian allrounder, Mitchell Marsh, was ruled out with injury.

David Miller and Hashim Amla have been retained by the Kings XI Punjab - a team whom Miller captained in the initial phases of last year's event.

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The Delhi Daredevils boast the largest South African contingent with Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy all playing under the tutelage of coach Paddy Upton - a fellow South African.

However, De Kock will miss the 10th season of the IPL with a finger injury, while Duminy has withdrawn from the competition due to personal reasons.

"I haven't spoken to JP, but maybe he just needs a break - it's been a tough couple of months for him in terms of performance. Sometimes it is not technical things, it's about giving yourself a mental break," added Peterson.

Rabada, one of the top fast bowlers in world cricket, will be making his maiden appearance at the IPL, in spite of having had a heavy workload over the summer with the Proteas.

"That will always be the concern, weather he has had enough of a break, especially with such a massive tour to England coming up. I think that situation is going to have to be monitored a little bit, but from an experience point of view, he is not going to get anything better," said Peterson.

Defending champions, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, along with the Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Gujarat Lions will have no South African representation.

The tournament begins on Wednesday with a replay of the 2016 final, where hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad will host the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Deccan.


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