Johannesburg - Lonwabo ‘Lopsy’ Tsotsobe is confident that his move to the bizhub Highveld Lions will prove to be a fruitful one as the left-arm seamer prepares to lead the Gauteng-based franchise’s bowling attack at the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20).
According to the supersport.com website, Tsotsobe will be playing for his third South African franchise in as many seasons, after spending just one year with the Sunfoil Dolphins after moving on from the Chevrolet Warriors.
The 29-year-old Tsotsobe, formerly the number-one ranked one-day international (ODI) bowler on the International Cricket Council’s rankings, endured a fair amount of criticism last season with some pundits claiming he was overweight and not working as hard as he could have been.
But, in talking to Tsotsobe about his move to the Lions it becomes abundantly clear that he is happy with his new franchise and has already struck up a good relationship with coach Geoffrey Toyana.
“I’ve moved around a lot in the last couple of seasons but sometimes you move for reasons and I don’t regret any of the reasons why I have left the (other) provinces. I’m just looking to succeed in the Lions’ set-up,” Tsotsobe told supersport.com.
“I have a good relationship with Geoff and it’s one of those situations where you don’t want to disappoint someone who has confidence in you,” he added.
Toyana recently went on record saying how happy he was with Tsotsobe’s effort since joining the Lions.
“Lopsy is doing well. He has been a revelation for us...we have read about in his troubles in the papers but since he has joined us he has been superb,” said Toyana.
Tsotsobe, who has taken 83 wickets in just 51 ODIs at an average of 24.18, will need to rise to his role as a senior player in the Lions’ set-up during the CLT20, especially when a large part of the squad has never played in Indian conditions.
The Lions, last year’s beaten finalists, play their first match against the Perth Scorchers in Ahmedabad on September 23 while they have also been grouped with Indian Premier League outfits Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals and a qualifier.
It is a tough group and Tsotsobe’s experience could prove to be a crucial element in the Lions’ hopes of doing well in the tournament.
It is a challenge that he looks forward to.
“Going to the Champions League we all know that India will have flat wickets and you just need to make sure that your skills are on point and I’m looking forward to that challenge.
“It’s something that I take on my shoulders because most of the guys haven’t played in India and I will try to give as much advice as possible but when a guy has the ball in his hand he makes his own decisions.
“It might not go my way in India but we just have to work as a team and as a bowling unit,” he said.
Tsotsobe, who is looking a lot leaner than last season when he also battled a troubling ankle injury, will form part of an attack that could also include Pakistan quick Sohail Tanveer, legspinner Imran Tahir, left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso and fast bowler Hardus Viljoen.
Tsotsobe wants to take the responsibility be has been given with the Proteas as a strike bowler and transfer it to the Lions.
“I’ve been getting a lot of responsibility nowadays and it’s something that I don’t back away from. At international level I’m given the responsibility to try and take wickets up front to try and help the team.
“I want to be a guy like Dale Steyn, in the test side, where he is the guy with the responsibility as the leader of the attack,” he said.