Hashim Amla out of Dolphins match

2008-10-01 00:00

INITIALLY there were conflicting stories from the KZN Dolphins camp regarding the availability of trump card Hashim Amla for the SuperSport Series opener against the Northern Titans, starting at Kingsmead today.

The Durban media quoted convenor of selectors Jay Naidoo as saying the Proteas number three had not recovered from an ankle injury and would not play, while Dolphins coach Yashin Ebrahim told The Witness late yesterday afternoon that the decision had not been made.

Eventually it was confirmed to The Witness by Naidoo that Amla would not be playing in the hope that he would have healed in time for next week’s home game against the Highveld Lions.

Ebrahim said the Dolphins prepared well this week after a good pre-season, and that team spirit was high going into a four-day match in which they will face a formidable attack that will include the bounce and pace of Proteas quick Morné Morkel, promising 22-year-old fast bowler Basheer Walters, who hails from Eastern Province, the seam and swing of Ethy Mbhalati and captain Pierre Joubert, plus menacing twin twins Paul Harris and Imran Tahir.

Ebrahim said the Kingsmead wicket will provide “fair bounce and pace”.

“We had a net [this week against a host of local spinners] and scuffed up the pitch a bit, so the guys had a good workout under spin conditions,” Ebrahim said.

Titans coach Richard Pybus told The Witness there would be no surprises in his starting line-up, and he is indeed fortunate to have such quality at his disposal.

The major threat will likely come from Martin van Jaarsveld and Gulam Bodi with the bat, while other proven game-breakers are Morkel and the threat of left-arm orthodox Harris and prolific leg-spinner Tahir.

New Dolphin HD Ackerman, who arrived in Durban three days ago, could play a key role in counteracting the impressive Titans attack.

With over 200 first-class matches behind him, journeyman Ackerman was brought in to bat at five and guide a Dolphins middle order decimated by the loss of Dale Benkenstein, Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock, plus the added blow of opener Doug Watson’s broken thumb last season.

Ackerman’s wealth of knowledge could be key to giving 19-year-old Dolphins number six David Miller, who hit 129 against the Eastern Cape Warriors in a recent warm-up match, the springboard he needs.

With all the possible permutations, it shapes up to be one of the most interesting SS Series matches yet.

TEAMS

Dolphins (from): Imraan Khan, Rivash Gobind, Pierre de Bruyn, Ahmed Amla (capt), HD Ackerman, David Miller, Jon Kent, Daryn Smit, Johann Louw, Ugasen Govender, Yusuf Abdullah, Quinton Friend Saidi Mlongo.

Titans: Gulam Bodi, Heino Kuhn, Rushdi Jappie, Martin van Jaarsveld, Faf du Plessis, Farhaan Behardien, Pierre Joubert (capt), Paul Harris, Morné Morkel, Ethy Mbhalati, Imran Tahir, Basheer Walters, Blake Snijman.

Start of play: 9.30 am, entrance free.

Other matches: Lions vs Warriors (Wanderers), Eagles vs Cobras (Kimberley).

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