Zulu: Still a long way to go

2012-01-30 10:10
Lance Klusener (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Lance Klusener made a winning start to his career as the interim coach of the Sunfoil Dolphins as his team beat the Chevrolet Warriors in a SuperSport Series match, but the former Proteas allrounder is not taking his early success for granted.

The Dolphins’ 227-run win over the Warriors was their first SuperSport Series victory in over a year and Klusener, although pleased with his team’s performance, sounded a note of caution.

“It is a good start but I think we are under no illusions that there is still a long way to go. One swallow does not make a summer but it’s a start, it’s a good start for everybody,” Klusener told reporters after the game.

One noticeable aspect of the Dolphins’ win over the Warriors was the aggression shown by fast bowlers Kyle Abbott and Mthokozisi Shezi with both men prepared to pepper the opposition batsmen with short balls, especially in the second innings when the Warriors were bowled out for 158.

The use of the short ball paid dividends as Abbott grabbed three wickets in the Warriors’ second innings while Shezi picked up five.

Klusener said the use of the short ball had been part of his plan to introduce some aggression into the team.

“By the sounds of things it’s the most (short balls) Abbott has bowled all season. It just gives him another opportunity of getting a wicket. It’s not just about rocking up and swinging the ball. People must be thinking ‘Kyle Abbott must be nasty’. It shouldn’t be friendly stuff to come to Kingsmead. You can be friendly off the field but I don’t think you should be too nice on it,” he explained.

Klusener only took charge of the Dolphins a few days before the game against the Warriors and he said he had not had any time to work on technical aspects with his charges but he had tried to shake them out of their comfort zone.

“Some of the guys are better than they thought they were when they have a bit of fire in the belly. Some of the fast bowlers showed that they are a lot better than what they have been achieving.

“This week hasn’t been about any technical thing. It’s really just about trying to change a mindset of a lot of guys that were maybe just cruising along and happy to be playing rather than happy to be seeking a national call-up.

“It just shows that some of the guys have been sitting on their arses and been a little bit lazy. I’m under no illusions that things can go pear-shaped very quickly,” he said.

Klusener, at the time of his appointment, said that he wanted his players to show more discipline in their play and his words seem to have had an effect.

It was noticeable during the Dolphins’ first innings, when they scored 321 all out, that the batsmen were prepared to work hard for their runs with most of the top six getting out to good bowling rather than gifting their wickets to their opponents.

Klusener said that fighting for your wicket was not just about the individual but also about the team’s needs.

“We are trying to sell our wickets as dearly as possible. It is quite easy to have a dip in your innings but if you have the determination and guts to stick around then things will change.

“You can get two half-volleys and you are away again. My appeal to them was that when it does get tough then that is when you should really switch on and fight for the rest of the guys that are in the changeroom and not just chuck it away because it’s a little bit tough,” he concluded.

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