Cape Town - Although he is still struggling to get to the grips with the stunning five-wicket defeat of the Cape Cobras in their Momentum One Day Cup final against the Titans at Newlands on Friday, this does not herald the end of an era for the Cobras, said a disappointing Cobras skipper, Justin Ontong.
The supersport.com website reports that Ontong said the return of two 24-year-old bowlers who have nursed medium-term injuries, Dane Piedt and Beuran Hendricks, would bolster the Cobras’ continual pursuit of silverware.
The Cobras managed nine domestic titles the past six seasons.
“If Justin Kemp, Andrew Puttick and I retire in three years’ time we can talk about new eras,” he said.
The Cobras scored 285 for eight in the Momentum One Day Cup final at Newlands on Friday after a sensational start which saw Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick smash 180 for the first wicket in 31.3 overs.
“We probably should have scored 30 to 40 runs more. We should have played normal cricket. Our game-plan was not perfect,” Ontong said about the Cobras top- and middle-order.
They suffered three run-outs and lost their way by conceding regular wickets against the accuracy of the Titans attack, led superbly by leg-spin bowler Tabraiz Shamsi. Albie Morkel and Dean Elgar both scored sensational centuries after joining forces on a wobbly 60 for four.
Their 195-run partnership in 31 overs set the scene for a sensational five-wicket win. Morkel hammered 134 off 103 balls, while Elgar struck 100 off 119 deliveries.
“They were outstanding, so you have to give credit to Albie and Dean,” said Ontong.
Vincent Barnes, high performance manager of Cricket South Africa, says Hendricks (who has only recently completed rehabilitation on his back following months on the sidelines) are just a few weeks away from his best form.
“In the final limited-over game between South Africa 'A' and the England Lions, Beuran was one of four SA bowlers who operated at 140km/h or faster.
“The others were Marchant de Lange, Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada. Beuran faded slightly after three overs, and in his second spell, the same thing happened. It was only due to a lack of full match fitness.
“So he has to work on his match fitness.
“He is swinging it into the right-hander and at pace. He has to perform that stock ball almost blind-folded and retain his control and consistency,” said Barnes, who added that Hendricks is only a few weeks away from his best form.
Hendricks captured 11 for 63 in the off-season of 2013 against India 'A' and also took 21 scalps in five Sunfoil Series games for the Cobras in 2013/14.
He managed 28 wickets in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge in 2013/14 for the Cobras and played in five games for South Africa in the T20 World Cup before a back injury curtailed his progress.
But Barnes is optimistic that Hendricks’ return to full fitness will see him blossom again.
“He is not there yet. He must get match-fit and bowl a lot more. But Beuran is close,” he added.
He has emphasised the importance of the left-arm swing bowler staying very strong in his action.
Talking about Piedt, who nipped out eight for 153 in his Test debut for South Africa, Barnes said the offspinner could only bowl for the Western Province amateur-team and his club the past month due to a lack of four-class action.
But it is only a matter of time before he will recapture the form that saw him captured 45 wickets in eight matches at an average of less than 20 for the Cape Cobras in their triumphant four-day campaign in 2013/14, he added.
“Both Dane and Beuran must just step up now for the Cobras in the domestic four-day competition,” he added.