Pybus welcomes 50 over format
Johannesburg - Cricket SA's one-day domestic competition starts on Wednesday and reverts back to a 50-over format which, according to Cape Cobras' coach Richard Pybus, is a positive move and allows for more exciting cricket.
"The extra 10 overs per innings will allow for more changes to the tempo of the game," said Pybus on Tuesday.
"If the game changes speed and direction more often, it will make it far more challenging."
Without a sponsor, the competition will be known as the One Day Cup and, unlike the 40-over games in recent seasons, the longer format brings the competition into line with the latest International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations which took effect in October.
The other significant change is the use of two new balls, one from each end, per innings, which does away with the mandatory ball change after 34 overs.
Pybus said the protracted use of the new ball posed more challenges to both the bowlers and the batsmen and a lot more skill was required.
"It’s going to bring reverse swing back into the game and the bowlers will need to develop that skill," said Pybus, who recalled the 45-over formats of the past.
"The seam bowlers will appreciate the use of two new balls and the batsmen will need to prepare to face 15-20 overs with the new ball.
"It also gives the batsmen time to rebuild partnerships after the loss of a key wicket."
Last season's runners-up, the Titans are first up against the Lions in the season opener at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday, and their new coach, Matthew Maynard, said he was pleased to see the domestic competition implementing the international format.
"It's great to see domestic cricket mirror the international competitions," said the former England batsman.
"If players perform well in the 50-over competition, they are more familiar with the game when they step up to the next level."
The coaches and selectors were spoiled for choice this week as the Proteas have been released from international duty to play for their franchises.
However, a few teams will be affected by the South Africa "A" team playing a warm-up match against Australia in Potchefstroom during the next few days.
Maynard said he was pleased to have Morne Morkel available to lead the Titans' attack on Wednesday against the Lions and hoped AB de Villiers, recovering from surgery to his left hand, would be available for Sunday's game.
The Cape Cobras play their first match against the Dolphins in Durban on Friday and Pybus said he was excited to have his international players available.
"We have a full complement of players to choose from so it makes it more challenging. It’s a lovely situation for us," he said.
The Durban wicket is usually known for its pace and bounce, and the overcast conditions saw the South African batsmen struggle to score freely in last week's one-day international against Australia.
"I'm hoping a faster wicket has been prepared for our game on Friday night," said Pybus.
"It played very slow last year as well and a slow wicket is not great for the game."
In the new rules, no extra time will be allowed in the event of bad weather and overs will be discounted immediately for playing time lost.
The Warriors and Knights also begin their campaigns on Friday while all six franchises will be in action again on Sunday.
Fixtures for this week:
Wednesday: Titans v Highveld Lions, SuperSport Park, 3pm
Friday: Warriors v Knights, Buffalo Park, 3pm; Dolphins v Cape Cobras, Kingsmead, 3pm.
Sunday: Dolphins v Warriors, Pietermaritzburg Oval, 10am; Highveld Lions v Cape Cobras, Wanderers Stadium, 10am; Titans v Knights, Willowmoore Park, 10am.