Durban - Lance Klusener is a fighter, a man who played his cricket with a purpose, always believing that if he was batting or bowling, a match was far from over.
He shoots from the hip when it comes to discussing the game and is generally a man of few words. Trust is earned from him and he pulls no punches when he has to tell things like they are.
That is why he was virtually brought to his knees on Wednesday after seeing the Dolphins blown away by nine wickets courtesy of the Warriors in a One Day Cup clash at Kingsmead.
For Klusener to have to apologise to fans and sponsors afterwards is a massive moment for the man and is a clear indication of the desperate times being experienced within the walls of Kingsmead. Wednesday’s game was over with patches of blue sky still visible over Durban and supper, taken at 16:30, was more of an afternoon tea affair than a wholesome meal.
“I apologise to our sponsors and fans alike,” said Klusener.
“This was definitely not the standard we want to set. The Warriors had the perfect game and in the face of that, we were disastrous.”
However, while the meek performance - bowled out for 110 - ended the Dolphins’ progress in the competition and saw them entrenched at the bottom of the log, Klusener reflected on a campaign of missed opportunities which have proven costly and embarrassing at the business end of proceedings.
“While our performance was horrendous, I don’t think that is the reason we are out the tournament,” he said.
“We had our opportunities earlier in the competition where players needed to stand up and play a big innings, bat through the overs and set the tone upfront. Senior players did not deliver and we never got those big moments.”
Mid-October last year seems eons away when the Dolphins opened their account with an impressive bonus point win against the Knights in Pietermaritzburg. It was the ideal start, at a venue which has always been a touch tricky for the home side, and the adrenaline taps were slowly being opened.
Could this be the season the Dolphins needed? Was this the platform for a glorious campaign, putting to bed the negativity surrounding a side who always kept flattering to deceive?
Those of us who were there, sincerely hope so.
Usually when waking up trembling and mindless from a shocking nightmare, a flood of peace soon descends, bringing calm and the realisation that it was just a dream and normality still persists. The Dolphins’ nightmare is the complete opposite - it’s real and comes back season after season.
As scribes and dealing with the players and coaching staff who are always amicable and a highly decent bunch of lads, the thread of eternal optimism runs deep.
Encouragement, circumstances, injury - these are all things factored in when the seas get rough, but five months into the season, there is nothing left to call upon and the Dolphins have been unceremoniously dumped on shore, pieces of wreckage strewn all around.
A phoenix can rise from the ashes and that, as Dolphins supporters know, is the only bastion of faith they continue to have. Thankfully, there is always next season and beyond to fall back on.
It’s only when we look back and analyse the situation that we realise nothing has changed and we are all still chipping away at the same rock with no masterpiece forming, the pieces flying off and gathering as dust.
Nonetheless, that is where the Dolphins must turn and captain Morné van Wyk knows that.
“There is still much to play for in the four-day competition where we will hopefully show what we can do and are worth,” he said.
“We definitely have the talent and will look to next season to get things right and showcase what we have.”
Sounds familiar doesn’t it?