Cape Town - Richard Levi will return to South African first-class cricket after a gap of almost two years when the Cape Cobras host the Highveld Lions in the Sunfoil Series on Thursday.
Levi did not turn out for the Cobras in last season’s triumphant Sunfoil Series campaign, mostly because of a lengthy injury, but scored 121 in 159 balls in his last four-day outing for his franchise, which saw the Cobras beat the Knights by 10 wickets and clinch the 2012/13 title.
With Stiaan van Zyl called up to make his Proteas debut and Levi in red-hot form in the RAM SLAM T20, where he was the top run-scorer, the 26-year-old will have the chance to make an impact in long-form cricket.
“With Stiaan getting called up I think it’s an opportunity to look at Richard Levi again,” Cobras coach Paul Adams said.
“I think his last four-day game for us was against the Knights in Bloemfontein and he got a hundred, so it will be nice for him to get that chance.
“He’s looking really good, and I think he’s got a great understanding of his batting now, so hopefully he can go well in this format.”
Adams confirmed that Levi will open the batting, and also revealed that George Linde will fill the spin berth with Robin Peterson on Proteas duty and Dane Piedt still making his way back from injury.
Fast bowlers Beuran Hendricks and Rory Kleinveldt are expected to return to the fray after coming through a tour match against the West Indies last week.
The Lions have been hit by call-ups, with Alviro Petersen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada all with the Proteas.
Neil McKenzie is available after missing the first two Sunfoil Series games of the season, though, and captain Stephen Cook is confident that the likes of Pumelela Matshikwe and Dwaine Pretorius can provide the necessary cover in the bowling department.
“Through the winter (assistant coach) Gordon Parsons worked with a larger squad of bowlers in expectation of these sorts of call-ups, so we’re prepared,” said Cook.
“We haven’t settled on our final combination, but I’m confident that we’ll take a good attack to Cape Town.”