Returning Proteas a blessing and a curse

2012-03-30 09:31

The T20 challenge final will be spiced up this weekend with the return of Proteas players, though it will have vastly different implications for the Highveld Lions and the Titans.

The Titans outfit is littered with national players, while the Lions will have only regular captain Alviro Petersen returning to the side for Sunday’s season finale.

Lions coach Dave Nosworthy believed the visitors would face a selection headache, with a number of international players available for the Titans after South Africa returned from a seven-week tour of New Zealand on Wednesday.

“Alviro is available to us as far as we’re aware ... and he will come straight back into the team as captain,” Nosworthy said.

“Thami Tsolekile was obviously our stand-in captain while Petersen was on Test duty.

“There are more issues when you change four or five places. That’s always a whole dynamic that changes. But throughout this season Petersen has been more with us than anywhere else.”

Titans coach Matthew Maynard, however, hinted that while he had the luxury of calling on world class players, they may not be utilised in the match.

“AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel are both available, and so are Jacques Rudolph and Marchant de Lange,” Maynard said.

“I’ll have to sit down with them and see how fatigued they are and how motivated they are because they’ve been away for two months now, and then it’s off to the IPL and the tour of England.

“A week or five days off may be better for them.”

Coming off a stunning semifinal super-over victory against the Knights last week, the Titans will look to carry that momentum into the final.

“A lot of the players have tasted success, and with other guys it’s their first taste of a final so there’s a lovely balance between the two,” Maynard said.

Conversely, the Johannesburg outfit qualified automatically for the final, skipping the one-off semifinal after they finished top of the table.

The hosts have had a period off which could count against them.

“Consistency has been a factor, to keep a good group of players together and even the guys off the field who’ve trained hard and kept continuity throughout,” Nosworthy said.

“Sunday is big for us. I think we’ve learnt a lesson from previous seasons where we qualified for the Champions League and rode the honeymoon a touch too long.

“This year we’re over the honeymoon, as of possibly Monday already.

“The boys got into training and we’re looking to win a trophy on Sunday. That’s our main objective.”

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