Dolphins wing it to India

2014-09-11 00:00

HEADING to India on Sunday for the Champions League Twenty20 as a team with no “big” names could be an advantage for the Dolphins.

This was the general consensus yesterday when the franchise had their season launch and bade farewell to the squad of 15 destined for battle in India, the tournament running from September 13 to October 4.

This is the Dolphins’ reward for winning last season’s domestic Ram Slam T20 competition, and while they have a young, talented squad, there are no illusions that the mission ahead is no easy task.

KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union (KZNCU) president Faez Jaffer encouraged the squad by saying: “It’s an honour for the the Dolphins to play in the Champions League in India. I am confident the team are well prepared, under great leadership, and will be underestimated at the opposition’s peril.”

The build-up to the tournament has seen the squad undergo an intense off-season programme, focusing on physical and mental fitness.

Last season’s trophy, the first in eight years, has given the franchise, their administration, coaches and players renewed belief that competitions can be won and, if players’ skills and talents are used wisely, there is no reason to fall short.

KZNCU’s outgoing chief executive officer, Jesse Chellan, summed it up best. “Back in 2010, when Graham Ford was Dolphins coach, we sat down and set our own BHAG — Big Hairy Audacious Goal — which was to win the Champions League,” he said. “We haven’t done that yet, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

“We are one of 10 teams competing, and we have the ability, desire and confidence to be a respected outfit at the tournament.”

Before the announcement of the squad for India, Dolphins players Cameron Delport, Khaya Zondo, Sibs Makhanya, Cody Chetty and Keshav Maharaj, with the help of some models, displayed the new Dolphins kit for the season.

“It represents where we come from,” said Chellan. “It has a Zulu shield, a horn, dappled sides which represent Nguni cattle skin, and lines which represent the waves of Durban.

“Our coach [Lance Klusener] tasked us with finding something fresh, with a new look, and I think we have passed the test.”

Besides the Champions League squad, the Dolphins announced their contracted players for the 2014/15 season.

Jonathan Vandiar, who had a wretched season last time around, is ready to begin on a clean slate, and youngsters Daryn Dupavillon, Makhanya and all-rounder Andile Phelukwayo have also been included.

It’s a squad of vibrant youth mixed with solid leadership from captain Morne van Wyk, supported by a bunch of seasoned first-class cricket campaigners.

Klusener, after last season’s success, has clear goals for the months ahead.

“I will say it up front — we want to win every domestic trophy on offer. We must carry on doing what we have been doing, but we must do things better.”

David Miller, Kyle Abbott, Ryan McLaren and Imran Tahir are in the Dolphins squad for the season, but are Cricket South Africa-contracted players.

Dolphins-Contracted Players (2014/15)

Cameron Delport, Craig Alexander, Daryn Dupavillon, Daryn Smit, Jonathan Vandiar, Keshav Maharaj, Khaya Zondo, Prunelan Subrayen, Robbie Frylinck, Sibonelo Makhanya, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Imraan Khan, Andile Phelukwayo, Divan van Wyk, Calvin Savage, Thandi Tshabalala, Cody Chetty, Morne van Wyk

David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Kyle Abbott and Imran Tahir – CSA-contracted players

Champions Trophy Squad

Morne van Wyk, Andile Phelukwayo, Cody Chetty, Cameron Delport, Daryn Dupavillon, Daryn Smit, Craig Alexander, Jonathan Vandiar, Prunelan Subrayen, Keshav Maharaj, Khaya Zondo, Robbie Frylinck, Sibonelo Makhanya, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Kyle Abbott

Morne van Wyk

“Great teams play better than the previous season, and that is what the Dolphins need to aspire to.

“As a team, we need to lead by values, standards and principles on and off the field. A team with a strong culture will get through the rough moments.

“All our players have their strengths. The key is for them to be five percent better than they have been.

“I am happy with our preparation. We want to do things the Dolphins way, and that relates to how we represent the team and the legacy we create. I feel this is the beginning of a new era in Dolphins cricket.”

Lance Klusener

“Our success last season was built on a series of pillars from the sponsors, our wives and girlfriends, Morne van Wyk’s leadership, Christo Spies the mental coach, the belief from Jesse Chellan and the administrators, an unheralded support team, and the ground staff.”

Shoaib Moosa – Willowton Group

“It’s with great pride and joy that we, as sponsors, see the Dolphins travelling to India. The team has developed into a respected force within a short time. Greatness comes to those who wait.”

Champions League

The Dolphins are in the same group as the Kolkota Knight Riders (IPL 2014 champions), Perth Scorchers (Big Bash League winners 2014), Chennai Super Kings (3rd in IPL 2014) and a qualifying team.

Their first match is on September 20 against the Scorchers in Mohali. Next matches are against the Super Kings, September 22, Bangalore; qualifier on September 27, Bangalore; and the Knight Riders, September 29, Hyderabad.

The top two sides from each group qualify for the semi-finals on October 2 in Hyderabad, with the final being played on October 4 in Bangalore.

Previous Champions League Winners

2009 - NSW Blues (Australia)

2010 - Chennai Super Kings (India)

2011 - Mumbai Indians (India)

2012 - Sydney Sixers (Australia)

2013 - Mumbai Indians (India).

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