Minor League Cricket launches in the US – here are the SA stars involved

The inaugural Minor League Cricket Championship will start in the United States of America this week.

The tournament will be played from late July to mid-September 2021 – and is effectively a pathway to Major League Cricket in 2022 or 2023.

Several South Africans with first-class or international experience will be involved in the Minor League Cricket Championship.

Rusty Theron

The former Proteas seamer has already played ODI cricket for the USA – and will represent the Bay Blazers.

He will be team-mates with fellow South Africans Chad Bowes, David White and David Bunn at the Blazers.

David White

The former Eastern Province and Warriors batsman is employed as American Cricket Enterprises’ player development manager.

He will play for the Blazers, too, and is contracted for an eventual Major League Cricket berth as well.

Justin Dill

The New Jersey Stallions have the former Western Province and South Africa Under-19 all-rounder. He will be a key player in the Eastern division of the Atlantic conference.

“To be given the platform to elevate my cricket and cricket in general in the US is something I am truly excited about, which with limited opportunities in SA, was not possible,” Dill told Club Cricket SA.

Willem Ludick

He played for South Africa Under-19 before forging a successful career in New Zealand. Ludick has relocated again to be with the Houston Hurricanes in the States.

He will have fellow South African Slade van Staden and West Indies spinner Ashley Nurse as team-mates at the Hurricanes.

Calvin Savage

The new Michigan Cricket Stars all-rounder was at the Dolphins before moving to the Cape Cobras, but is now in the US.

“I feel like I have given it a fair go in South African cricket. I want to help grow cricket in the US over the next three years,” he told Club Cricket SA.

Shadley van Schalkwyk

Minor League Cricket started as 24 teams before growing to 27. The Seattle Thunderbolts are one of the new additions.

They have the former Knights seamer, who told The Heavy Roller: “Guys like us are here in the US to bridge the gap.

“We’re playing alongside local youngsters who, to draw a South African context, could easily play provincial cricket at under-19 level.” Van Schalkwyk was initially with the Silicon Valley Strikers.

File image: Shadley van Schalkwyk.

File image: Shadley van Schalkwyk.

Cody Chetty

The former Dolphins batsman will play for the Hollywood Master Blasters in the Western Division of the Pacific conference.

He is one of several former South Africa Under-19 players who have relocated to the States.

Dane Piedt

The DC Hawks, who will be captained by ex-Kings XI Punjab recruit Sunny Sohal, will have the former Proteas spinner.

Piedt was one of the first South African cricketers to sign a contract for this tournament, after leaving the Cape Cobras.

Andries Gous

He is one of four former Knights players, alongside Corne Dry, Shadley van Schalkwyk and Obus Pienaar, in Minor League Cricket.

Gous will be van Schalkwyk’s team-mate at Seattle. “If you are contracted by Major League Cricket, which I am, then you are guaranteed a spot in a Major League Cricket squad,” Gous told Club Cricket SA.

Corne Dry

The former Knights seamer will play alongside West Indian duo Rahkeem Cornwall and Ricardo Powell at the Atlanta Fire. The team is one of a few with a dedicated cricket facility.

“The Atlanta Cricket Fields are going to positively impact all cricketers for the teams preparing for international competition,” said Major League Cricket co-founder Sameer Mehta.

Obus Pienaar

The former Knights batsman will play for the St Louis Americans, who also have South Africans Luke Schofield and Joshua Kind.

Schofield played Western Province Cricket Association premier league cricket for Claremont Cricket Club relatively recently.

Carmi le Roux

The seamer played for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in the Mzansi Super League. He will be with the Philadelphians.

Also: Conrad Lotz (Morrisville Cardinals) and David Pieters (Irving Mustangs).

Other former international players

The Minor League Cricket Championship will also feature other former international cricketers, including New Zealander Corey Anderson, Sri Lankan Shehan Jayasuriya, Pakistan’s Sami Aslam, Canada’s Rizwan Cheema and West Indian duo Narsingh Deonarine and Rayad Emrit.

The 27 Minor League Cricket teams

Pacific conference

Central division

  • Austin Athletics
  • Chicago Blasters
  • Chicago Catchers
  • Houston Hurricanes
  • Irving Mustangs
  • Michigan Cricket Stars
  • St Louis Americans

Western division

  • Bay Blazers
  • Golden State Grizzlies
  • Hollywood Master Blasters
  • San Diego Surf Riders
  • Seattle Thunderbolts
  • Silicon Valley Strikers
  • Socal Lashings

Atlantic conference

Southern division

  • Atlanta Fire
  • Atlanta Param Veers
  • Florida Beamers
  • Fort Lauderdale Lions
  • Morrisville Cardinals
  • Orlando Galaxy

Eastern division

  • DC Hawks
  • Empire State Titans
  • Manhattan Yorkers
  • New England Eagles
  • New Jersey Somerset Cavaliers
  • New Jersey Stallions
  • The Philadelphians