New Year greets Dolphins with both good and bad news

2010-01-06 00:00

THE Dolphins have been greeted with both good and bad news in 2010.

The particularly bad news for the Kingsmead-based franchise is that Shahid Afridi will not be showing off his talents in the Pro20 competition next month.

After lengthy discussions, the all-rounder has failed to secure a release from the Pakistan Cricket Board, and the Dolphins will never know how well the “dream team” of Afridi and Loots Bosman could have gelled in the shortest version of the game.

The good news, however, is that the Dolphins have secured a major coup in convincing one of Natal’s favourite sons, Dale Benkenstein, to turn out for them for the rest of the MTN40 Championship, as well as the Pro20 series.

Benkenstein, who has made a name for himself by leading Durham to back-to-back County Championships, will provide a bucketful of experience and professionalism to the young Dolphins change-room.

His ability with both ball and bat can also not be ignored, and he may yet prove to be a key component for the Dolphins as they chase domestic success.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s MTN40 clash against the Cobras, coach Graham Ford said, “It’s fantastic to have Dale back in our fold. He is an experienced player who has played all over the world with success. He will help us in our current campaign and assist our young players in their development. His knowledge of local conditions is a huge plus for us too.”

On the field, the Dolphins will return to action after a festive break of almost three weeks.

Curiously, despite other teams playing several matches, the Dolphins still find themselves in fourth place in the standings.

They will be looking to cement their place in the semi-final spots with victories against the Cobras tonight and against the Lions on Friday night.

The Cobras are in excellent form since their last visit to Durban, and Imraan Khan’s charges will have to quickly shake off the Christmas cobwebs if they are to contain the likes of Herschelle Gibbs, Robin Peterson and Vernon Philander.

Teams: Dolphins: Imraan Khan (captain), Loots Bosman, Ahmed Amla, Dale Benkenstein, Cameron Delport, David Miller, Daryn Smit, Andrew Hall, Alfonso Thomas, Johann Louw, Quinton Friend, Yusuf Abdulla, Jon Kent.

Cobras: (likely) A Puttick, S Van Zyl, H Gibbs, J Kemp, R Peterson, J Ontong, R Levi, S Engelbrecht, V Philander, R Kleinveldt, N Carter.

Play starts at 4 pm.

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