Sri Lanka allrounder Isuru Udana has replaced David Willey as Paarl Rocks' international marquee player for the second edition of the Mzansi Super League. Willey has been ruled out due to the need to manage his workload, according to a statement from Cricket South Africa.
Udana will be familiar to a South African audience, as he was part of the Sri Lankan squad that toured the country at the beginning of the year, and was one of the few players to make a real impact during the limited-overs leg of the trip. He averaged 55 with the bat in the five-match ODI series and a whopping 132 across the three T20Is, being dismissed only once. Udana collected career-best scores in both formats against South Africa, while also chipping in with three wickets.
"We are very excited to get a player of Isuru's calibre who was Sri Lanka's star player during their T20 Series against the Proteas earlier this year," said CSA Acting Director of Cricket Corrie van Zyl. "He made more than twice the number of runs as any of his colleagues and had a strike rate of more than 170. This is right up with the very best standards by any comparison. He has a career strike rate of 153 in the T20 International format and one of 96 in ODI's.
"He was a regular choice for Sri Lanka throughout the recent ICC Men's Cricket World Cup which included his playing a crucial role in his country's upset 20-run win over the eventual champions, England. One of his two wickets was that of England captain Eoin Morgan.
"He is currently in action for Sri Lanka in their T20 Series against New Zealand and I am sure the Paarl Rocks players, management and fans will be keeping a close eye on his performances," added Van Zyl.
The MSL squads will be finalised at the Player Draft on Tuesday next week.
South African Marquee Players:
Cape Town Blitz: Quinton de Kock; Durban Heat: Andile Phehlukwayo; Jozi Stars: Kagiso Rabada; Nelson Mandela Bay Giants: Imran Tahir; Paarl Rocks: Faf du Plessis; Tshwane Spartans: AB de Villiers
International Marquee Players:
Cape Town Blitz: Wahab Riaz (Pakistan); Durban Heat: Alex Hales (England); Jozi Stars: Chris Gayle (West Indies); Nelson Mandela Bay Giants: Jason Roy (England); Paarl Rocks: Isuru Udana (Sri Lanka); Tshwane Spartans: Tom Curran (England)