Cricket

Proteas duo join Cobras for pre-season games

2017-09-06 09:03
Vernon Philander (Getty)

Cape Town - The Cape Cobras will be bolstered by the return of two Proteas stars Temba Bavuma and Vernon Philander when they embark on their tour to the Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn.

The Cape Cobras will play in two two-day warm-up games against the Warriors from September 8-14, separated by a rest day on the 11th.

Faiek Davids, assistant coach of the Cobras, said the whole squad (with the exception of the overseas-based players Richard Levi, Rory Kleinveldt and Stiaan van Zyl) will be on tour.

The Boland squad members who depart for duty in the Africa T20 Cup, Simon Khomari, Justin Ontong, Lizaad Williams and Pieter Malan, will only be available for the first franchise warm-up game.

The rehabilitation of Philander, who missed the final Test against England with a back spasm, will be monitored and discussed with the national team management, but he might play in Oudtshoorn depending on his fitness.

There is even a chance that Philander might only feature as a batsman.

Bavuma will definitely play, the assistant coach added.

Davids said one of the goals for the season is to play a positive brand of cricket, reminiscent of the second half of last season when the team won three out of five four-day clashes.

"We not only want to score centuries, but big hundreds, not to save games but to win them.

"The team wants to bat deep and open up, scoring tons to set up games," he added.

The Cape Cobras boast a strong middle-order and there is depth in the bowling department.

In terms of the top-order, there might be a challenge for Malan and Khomari for who will partner Andrew Puttick.

Davids said it was imperative for the team to hit the ground running. The team had a "fantastic" pre-season and the unity in the squad is special. There are no excuses and it is vital for the Cobras to get off to a flyer.

They will meet the Knights in the opening Sunfoil Series match of the season at the Mangaung Oval from September 19-22, followed by a four-day clash with the Warriors at the St. George's Cricket Ground in Port Elizabeth from September 28 to October 1.

Proteas star batsman Hashim Amla will be available for the opening match of the season against the Knights, which will open up different combinations.

"There are so many options available to us in the top-order as we look at Jason Smith, Malan (a possibility at number three), Justin Ontong, Zubayr Hamza and Aviwe Mgijima. We are in a very good space as a team," said Davids.

"One obvious aim is to strike more centuries this season.

"The advent of T20 cricket has changed the game. More players, even at test level, are using shots like the reverse sweep to advance the scoring rate," he said.

Davids emphasised the importance of game awareness and reading the phase of the match.

Although the players must open up, there are stages when consolidation is necessary in order to rebuild, and phases where the players need to be more aggressive.

Analysing match situations correctly is a vital ingredient for the Cobras to excel added the Cobras assistant coach.

The Cobras will host the Knights at the Recreation Ground from the October 6-9, and the Warriors from October 16-19 at Newlands.

The Cape Cobras will return to the Recreation Ground from October 23-26 against the Dolphins to conclude the first half of the Sunfoil series of 2017/2018.

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