Cape Town – The leading first-class run-scorer in the
Sunfoil Three-Day Cup the past season, Zubayr Hamza, has been newly promoted to
the professional squad of the Cape Cobras, along with two other rising stars
from the semi-professional ranks, Jason Smith and GF Linde.
Hamza hit the headlines early in his career in assembling
an unbeaten 202 against Namibia as he became the fourth youngest South African
to hit a double hundred in first-class cricket.
He found himself in exalted statistical company. The trio
ahead of him Johann Myburgh, Graeme Pollock and Xenophon Balaskas all went on
to play senior international cricket.
Hamza struck 830 runs at an average of 59.28 for Western
Province in the 2015/2016-season.
Faiek Davids, the Western Province coach, said Hamza
possesses a calm exterior, is well organized and has the inner desire to perform.
He plays the ball under his nose and is strong on both
sides of the crease. Hamza is quite wristy and can treat fast bowlers who have
the temerity to drop it short, with disdain by employing an assured hook- or
A product of Rondebosch Boys High, he represented Western
Province and South African Schools in 2014 and just missed out on South African U19-representation in 2015.
“Back yourself, don’t doubt your abilities and stick to
the processes,” are part of his manifesto for a successful cricketing career.
Hamza struck three centuries for Western Province during
his prolific 2015/2016-season, and considers the ton he compiled against
Gauteng at PPC Newlands as his best.
“I was disappointed in us losing the three-day final. The
visitors were a bit more disciplined in small things and just more clinical,”
Hamza is a bit apprehensive about the professional ranks.
“The nerves will always be evident. But once I get a taste of what is required
of me, I will be fine. Performances will be key factors,” he said.
Davids is an admirer of the talent of the former SA
“I am very excited about Jason. He is a very clean
hitter and can tear any attack apart,” said Davids.
“He still needs to improve his understanding of how
to go around his business,” he added. Unpacking his statement, Davids explained
that Smith can get carried away a touch when he is destined for a ton and throw
away his wicket in an unguarded moment.
“If he fulfils his potential, he can become of one
of the better all-rounders of the Cape Cobras and later even in South Africa.
“But already he can nip it both ways off the seam
and he is crafty with a lot of skill.
“If he conditions his body, he will become a
frontline-bowler,” Davids confidently declared.
Smith was a member of the Wynberg Boys High school
first team from 2010 to 2012. His alma mater was consistently amongst the
top-five cricket institutions in the country while Smith was plying his craft
Smith was a member of the South African team that
won the under-19 World Cup on March 1, 2014. The coach, Ray Jennings said
of them have the potential to make it big."
the past season, Smith struck 597 runs and captured 19 wickets, with his 6-49
against South Western Districts being his best innings-haul.
undoubted highlight was Smith’s stylish unbeaten half-century for the Cape
Cobras in his maiden innings at PPC Newlands where he combined with JP Duminy
to power the hosts to a competitive total and a convincing win.
was class personified, and one of his boundaries was an audacious reverse-sweep
against the Dolphins.
is always room for improvement with bat and ball. I do need to do work in the
gymnasium, because I am committed to add a yard of pace to my bowling and to
improve my control,” Smith said.
was a member of the Cape Cobras squad that won the Ram Slam T20 Challenge in
December 2014 to atone for the heart-breaking 2-run loss in the final of the
domestic T20-showpiece early in the same year.
statistics of 14 wickets at an average of 15.55 in 11 matches with a best of
3-15 underlines his remarkable contribution to the all-conquering feats of the
left-arm spinner who drew applause from the Cape Cobras coach, Paul Adams, about
his ability to generate bounce and turn a la Claude Henderson, he can be a
said a finger fracture during the semi-professional season proved to be a
blessing in disguise. It offered him the chance to remove the clutter from his mind
and to improve his focus.
evident at the business-end of the season, as he scored 64 and took 4-37 in the
ten-wicket win against KwaZulu-Natal.
Three-day Cup final, Linde nipped out 5-55 and 3-48.
credits two former South African spinners, Robin Peterson and Adams, for their
contribution to his evolution.
has never been shy of a word of encouragement. He even approached Linde a few
times to share his trade secrets with the apprentice.
is full of praise for Linde, and says if the young player can employ a higher,
more teasing trajectory in red-ball cricket, it will add to his effectiveness
and strike-rate in franchise-cricket.
“If he can take pace off it, work with his height and
generate bounce, loop it above the eye-line of the batsmen and master that
tactic, he will be a handful in all formats,” Davids said.