By Ross Roche
Hudson Park High School fast bowling sensation, Akhona Mnyaka, became the youngest selection for the money-spinning T20 Global Destination League when he became the surprise pick of the Bloemfontein City Blazers during the draft pick on Sunday morning.
The main player draft saw 16 players picked per squad over 16 rounds, with eight selected picks (one per team) made in each round.
The 18-year-old Grade 11 pupil, who has represented the SA Schools and SA U19 teams, was picked in the 15th round for $10000 (just over R130000).
“I was at hostel watching soccer when I found out and I was speechless. I didn’t know what to do. It came as a massive surprise,” he told the Daily Dispatch yesterday.
“I think they must have noticed me playing for the SA U19 side.”
Mnyaka was confirmed as the only schoolboy picked in the draft.
With the tournament getting under way around the country at the start of November, Mnyaka will have to do a bit of a juggling act between preparing for his final examinations and playing cricket.
Cricket SA last week confirmed that five international players could be included in a squad of 18 while each team had to draft two rookies.
This opened up the league to young player development and gave Mnyaka his chance.
“I think I will get massive experience from being a part of the tournament,” said Mnyaka.
He still is yet to hear from the team in person and does not yet know what his contract will entail.
“I haven’t received a call yet and I am still waiting to hear from them exactly what my contract is and all the other specifics,” said Mnyaka.
Other local players to be selected in the draft include current Warriors and Border stars Christiaan Jonker (Joburg Giants) and Yaseen Vallie (Bloem Blazers) and former Border stars Aviwe Mgijima (CT Knight Riders) and Rowan Richards (Stellenbosch Monarchs). — firstname.lastname@example.org