Inland much happier with top order batting

2009-10-29 00:00

WITH skipper Tim Drummond unavailable due to a national hockey camp in Durban, experienced former KZN Dolphin Morne van Vuuren leads KZN Inland in their three-day and one-day matches against North West Dragons, starting today at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.

But that is the last thing on player/coach Doug Watson’s mind.

“We are in the privileged yet unenviable situation of having to decide which of four in-form batsmen to leave out,” he said yesterday.

Inland’s Achilles heel of poor opening partnerships looks on the verge of being solved after debutant Chad Barron made 109 and 40 last weekend against Griquas, and his partner Mario Olivier got an unbeaten hundred in the second innings.

At the same time, Glenn Addicott, centurion against Western Province recently, returns after illness and Watson himself is Inland’s leading run-scorer (223) and lies seventh in the Provincial Challenge three-day averages.

“With the quota requirement of a maximum six white players, we may have to drop one of the four of us out,” Watson said.

“Depending on how the Senwes pitch looks tomorrow, we will have to make a tough decision, as the other white players, all-rounders Van Vuuren and Nipper plus opening bowler Lyndon Brown, more or less pick themselves given the need for balance in the side.”

Bearing in mind these restrictions, surely it is time that a near-farcical situation like this should prompt Cricket SA to scrap its quota format — there has been democracy for 15 years.

Nevertheless, Watson was heartened by the improved performance last weekend and he said the players are in a “good frame of mind”.

Van Vuuren is the most successful one-day bowler and batsman for Inland, while left-arm spinner Nipper has taken the most wickets (10) among all provinces in the three-dayers.

The Potchefstroom weather forecast is not good — rain expected at some time on each day, so Inland can expect the same as that which has ruined most of their matches at home.

In the three-dayers, there was almos­t certain defeat to KZN Coastal, a match in the balance against Western Province and last week’s drawn Griquas encounter.

The one-dayers saw Inland lose to Coastals and Western Province, while the Griquas match was tilted towards the visitors before the dratted rain.

In their two three-dayers to date, NW have drawn with EP and Free State away. And in the one-dayers, lost to Free State and beat EP.

The Witness wasn’t able to obtain the North West Dragons team before going to press last night, so it is not known who is available for NW from the Highveld Lions franchise.

The Dragons form part of the franchise with Gauteng Strikers, so are able to call on their available players, a luxury Inland don’t have — in contrast to virtually all the other provinces — as the local policy is only to include cricketers who actually play for Inland clubs.

And that is why Dipak Anand and Kivershan Chetty of Chatsworth have made the trek up the N3, convinced they stand a better chance of playing first-class cricket here than they do in Durban.

TEAMS

KZN Inland: Chad Barron, Mario Olivier, Brad Moses, Glen Addicott, Doug Watson (player/coach), Morne van Vuuren (capt), Kyle Nipper, Mbasa Gqadushe, Lyndon Brown, Richard Hlela, Narvaar Harridave, Kivershan Chetty, Dipak Anand.

North West (possible): J Mostert, A Agathagelou, M Akoojee, C Jonker, R Bhayat, B Pelser (capt), C Schoeman, E Gerber, M Siboto, V Mazibuko, K Naicker.

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