Big chance for Dolphins’ hopefuls

2010-03-18 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins’ new-look side step on to the hallowed turf of Newlands this morning to face the Cape Cobras in a SuperSport Series affair, and for the new charges, the words of coach Graham Ford will still be ringing in their ears.

For the last month or so, Ford has been positively talking up the opportunities that are there for those who step up to the plate and show that they are made of the right stuff.

Ahead of the team’s departure to Cape Town, Ford expanded on his plans for the coming “break”.

After the small matter of this week’s match against the Cobras and next week’s visit by the Lions, the Dolphins’ winter squad will be afforded the whole of April off — and then the real work begins.

“We are going to have them working harder than they ever have in their lives,” Ford said forthrightly.

“We have to use that period as a time to fine-comb the next batch of Dolphins stars,” he added.

The KZN cricketing landscape has been shaken up by the arrival of CEO Jesse Chellan and the return of Ford, and by all accounts, both men seem dead set on getting the Dolphins back to the top table of SA cricket.

Ford, for one, has made it a mission.

“It’s not a good place to be, but we have now put our hands up and said it has to change. Now the hard part comes, where we have to identify the right type of people we need to take us forward.”

The emergence of several players from schools and the club scene has heartened Ford somewhat, but he is also realistic about the amount of true quality at his disposal.

“I think every now and then, you will stumble upon real gems, and it is important that when they pop up, we can provide everything needed to make those players part of the furniture.”

The emergence of David Miller this season is a classic example of what Ford is on about, and when he throws in a few extra pieces of the puzzle, one can see where he is headed.

“Take a guy like David, and then add — in a season — promising players like Khaya (Zondo) and Cameron (Delport). Suddenly, you have three exciting players on your batting card, but it takes time for these guys to make the step up. We have to be realistic in our expectations.”

Ford reckons it may take a season, probably two, but he expects the new guard to take their chances greedily.

“Look, guys can change their lives here. Suddenly you have a contract, you are playing at the top level and you are in the limelight. It’s a big carrot, but it requires a lot of hard yards.”

Those yards start today against a Cobras side that sits atop the four-day log by 15 points.

The Dolphins, who ended the first part of the SuperSport campaign with a fine win against the Titans, will look to the seasoned duo of Ahmed Amla and skipper Imraan Khan to weigh in with runs.

Quinton Friend returns to his former hunting ground, and he will have to be at his fiery best as he leads a green attack against a strong Cobras line-up.

Dolphins: I Khan, B Barnes, A Amla, D Miller, K Zondo, B Moses, J Kent, D Smit, Q Friend, K Chetty, TM Shezi.

FIXTURES

(Starting today)

Cobras v Dolphins (Newlands), Lions v Titans (Benoni), Eagles v Warriors (Bloemfontein)

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