A pink cricket ball. Picture: REUTERS/Jason Reed
A pink cricket ball. Picture: REUTERS/Jason Reed

It would be easy to say that the Jozi Stars‚ the inaugural Mzansi Super League (MSL) champions‚ will be under pressure when they begin their title defence against the Cape Town Blitz on Friday.

But, surprisingly‚ coach Donovan Miller is not worried about the pressure they face. In fact‚ he is excited to be part of a team that started slowly but finished in an uncompromisingly strong manner to win the title.

They will be up against a team that beat them handsomely at home last season. However‚ the Stars bounced back to win the two games in Cape Town‚ including the final.

“I wouldn’t say that we’re under any pressure. It’s something you can’t run away from as pressure is natural. It’s how you deal with it and only you can bring pressure to yourself.

“If we plan well and go out and execute‚ then we’ll get close to winning games. Once we’re winning games‚ you’ll get closer to where you really want to be‚” Miller said.

“I’m so excited‚ I’m not sleeping at the moment. I’m buzzing with excitement and we have most of the guys back from last year. We would have loved to have a guy like Dane Vilas back‚ but you know how the draft system works.”

West Indian superstar Chris Gayle will take part in the first six games in what could be his last T20 sojourn in SA. While the team managed well without him‚ Gayle felt he has a point to prove and needs to give back to the team before he strides into the T20 cricket sunset.

“I’ll be around for the first six games‚ then I’m going to leave. I haven’t thought about whether the team will make the playoffs‚ but you can never know.

“It’s the six games I agreed to. I wasn’t meant to be here‚ but I volunteered because I had a great time and I didn’t have great performances.

“I want to come back and finish off on a high‚” Gayle said.

“I’m 40 now. I’ve still got a lot of cricket to play but from a life point of view‚ I’m starting a family and will have to venture into new things. You have to know when to move on and start a new journey.”