THE Dolphins squad are hard at work this winter as they ready themselves for the fresh challenge the upcoming 2015/16 domestic season presents.
Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk confirms the entire squad are galvanised behind plans to step things up when the new season gets under way in early October.
“As a squad we are really looking forward to the season,” he said. “Last season we were pretty much middle of the pack in most of the competitions and there are plenty of positives to take from that. However, I think that’s also where our disappointment lies. We want to be reaching finals and compete for trophies. To have been in the mix in a couple competitions last season only to lose out toward the end really hurt.”
Having invested in a squad heavily laden with some of the province’s raw, emerging young talent a few seasons ago, Van Wyk believes many of the Dolphins squad are now matured cricketers capable of more.
“As a player and a team you never ever stop learning,” he says. “However, young and inexperienced are no longer words that can be used as valid explanations should we as a squad not achieve our goals. We’ve got guys who have played most games for a good few seasons, They’re seasoned professionals who are going on SA A tours and being picked for representative teams. Now is the time we all need to step up and help the team achieve our goals.
“Other teams have set the benchmark when it comes to being consistently successful and it’s up to us to match and better this.”
While the start of the season may still be over three months away, the Durban franchise are already hard at work getting themselves into the best possible shape ahead of the October 11 start.
“Achieving our goals for the season starts with our pre-season,” explained the wicket-keeper/batsman.
“It’s all about putting in the hard yards now because the higher you go, the smaller the margins get and we can’t afford to take any shortcuts in our preparations.
“Those of our squad who are in Durban have been training hard at Prime [Human Performance Institute] at Moses Mabhida Stadium for the past six weeks and already we are seeing the positive impact of this.”
While those in Durban undergo a thorough strength and conditioning programme, many of the squad are yet to join their team-mates as they continue to hone their skills in the United Kingdom or the Caribbean.
Daryn Smit, Keshav Maharaj, Cody Chetty, Calvin Savage, Prenelan Subrayen, Jonathan Vandiar and Craig Kirsten have all experienced a part of the UK club season while opening batsman Cameron Delport continues his maiden outing at the Caribbean Premier League with Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.
“Spending some time over in the UK at some stage of a player’s career is an absolute must, especially younger players,” said Van Wyk.
“It allows players to work on their skills in a less pressured environment and develop. We, as a team, also benefit as more of our squad stay engaged with the game through winter while they return having learnt to take care of big moments as they deal with the responsibilities from being a club’s senior pro.”
Kyle Abbott — another absentee from training as he enjoys time on the English country circuit with Middlesex — and Dolphins and Proteas team-mates David Miller, Imran Tahir and Ryan McLaren will all be in action when the national side head to Bangladesh in July.
After notching a century for the Proteas in a T20 International against the West Indies at Kingsmead in March, Van Wyk was disappointed to be omitted from the sub-continental touring party.
“I haven’t given up on my dream of playing for the Proteas as I feel I still have a lot to offer,” said Van Wyk.
— Gameplan Media