Johannesburg - Cape Cobras seamer Rory Kleinveldt is hoping for a big One-Day Cup series to force his way back into the Proteas limited-overs squad, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers, in Johannesburg.
Kleinveldt has been a regular in the Proteas squad, across all three formats for the past 12 months, but was recently dropped for the current series in Pakistan. The national selectors opted instead for his Cobras teammate and Test star Vernon Philander, with Kleinveldt returning from the United Arab Emirates last Sunday after the completion of the Test series.
“Of course, it’s disappointing to get dropped,” Kleinveldt said. “It is never a nice feeling, but I have suffered bigger setbacks in my career and have always bounced back.
"I intend to do just that again, starting with putting in performances for the Cape Cobras and helping my franchise into the playoffs.”
The Cobras would certainly benefit from having Kleinveldt back as the joint-defending champions continued to struggle with injuries, especially in the pace bowling department.
Beuran Hendricks and Johann Louw had been sidelined since the first game with a side strain and ankle ailment respectively. Hendricks was bowling off a short run-up in the nets and was likely only to be available once the playoff stages get underway - should the Cobras qualify.
Meanwhile, Kleinveldt, who had struggled with weight problems in the past, looked leaner and fitter than he had done in previous seasons, which would only bode well for the fast bowler and the Cobras.
“It was hot in Dubai ... and that made losing weight easier,“ Kleinveldt chuckled before a serious assessment of his fitness.
“I had to do something about my weight. It is easier for some other bowlers like Dale (Steyn), for example, to keep their body fat percentage down because it is almost genetic with him. I have to work harder to maintain my fitness levels, so I did lots of work on the side with the Proteas fitness trainer Greg King when I wasn’t playing in the UAE.
"As a fast bowler it is imperative to remain injury free and that can only be achieved if your fitness is at the required standard.”
The tie at the Wanderers is a re-run of last year’s final when both teams had to be satisfied with sharing the trophy after consecutive washouts.
Kleinveldt bowled well in the second attempt, claiming 3/41 to give his team a real chance of claiming the silverware before the heavens opened with the Cobras on 64/2 after 11 overs in pursuit of the Lions’ 241/7.
“I enjoy bowling at the Wanderers. It is a tough ground for bowlers in terms of the short boundaries and the quality of the surface, but it also suits my bowling style as I tend to get extra bounce there, which seems to trouble the batsmen.
"I haven’t had much game-time in the middle, but I will try and hit my lengths early on to get the most out of the wicket.”
The Cobras were lying in third place on the log with 16 points, behind the Dolphins (19) and Warriors (18). A victory for Paul Adams’s side could go a long way in securing a playoff berth, and would virtually knock out the Lions, who were languishing in fifth place with just six points from four games.
The Lions’ solitary victory, however, came against the Cobras at Newlands in the first-round fixture and the Gauteng-based side also welcomed the return of their Protea Test players. Alviro Petersen would strengthen the batting unit, while wicket-keeper Thami Tsolekile would soften the departure of Quinton de Kock to the Emirates.
The Dolphins host the Knights in the other day/night fixture on Wednesday. Both games begin at 15:00.