Dolphins begin a new era
Cape Town - Sunfoil Dolphins coach Lance Klusener has refused to dwell on the past records of the franchise and wants to instead concentrate on what lies ahead for the team as they begin a new era under his mentorship.
The former Proteas all-rounder, a star for his country during his playing days, formally begins his tenure as fulltime coach on Thursday when he leads the Dolphins in their first match of the season against the bizhub Highveld Lions in the Sunfoil Series.
The last time the Dolphins won any silverware was when Klusener was also at the helm, although as captain, back in the 2005/06 season when they shared the first-class title.
In the last four years, they have won just five matches out of 40 in four-day cricket.
“I’m not interested in the past,” Klusener, who oversaw one of those wins as interim coach last season, said. “I just want to put a stake in the ground from Thursday.
“Whatever happened in the past can stay in the past. It’s important that these guys forge their own path going forward.”
The 41-year-old is confident there is enough quality in the squad to suggest they are a better side than their record suggests.
“There any many players here of national calibre and they want to show that this season,” he said. “Surely we can’t finish where we have been in the past.”
He is also confident of a much better outlook when they take to the field at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg from Thursday.
He continued: “I think it (pre-season) has been pretty good, but you can only really judge once the games start.
“I feel there is a change of attitude, but again, the proof is in the pudding and we’ll only know once we’re on the field. The good thing is that everyone is really hungry to start.”
The injury-free Dolphins did not play on the opening weekend of matches, when their opponents suffered a 10-wicket humbling by the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras.
While Klusener admitted they were more worried about their own game, his opposite number, Geoffrey Toyana, was trying to figure out what went wrong with his men in Potchefstroom.
“It wasn’t the best of starts for us, but there were plenty of positives from the game,” Toyana said. “Our fielding was very poor, the way we bowled up front with the new ball was disappointing and our batting to an extent was not entirely where I’d want it to be. So we’ll be looking to improve on those aspects this week.”
He was especially pleased with Quinton de Kock’s career-best 194, another Imran Tahir five-for and promising signs by Temba Bavuma.
The Lions, however, will be without captain Alviro Petersen after he fractured his left hand in the field.
The match is the final four-day one for the hosts as they break for the Champions League Twenty20 thereafter, followed by the domestic one-day competition, with their next Sunfoil Series assignment coming in late December.