New head coach backs 2016/17 Dolphins squad

2016-05-18 06:00
Photo: supplied Sibonelo Makhanya (centre), with Sarel Erwee and Tshepang Dithole, has been awarded a Sunfoil Dolphins contract for the first time ahead of the 2016/17 season.

Photo: supplied Sibonelo Makhanya (centre), with Sarel Erwee and Tshepang Dithole, has been awarded a Sunfoil Dolphins contract for the first time ahead of the 2016/17 season.

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NEW head coach Grant Morgan is looking forward to instilling his fresh philosophy in the Sunfoil Dolphins squad of 2016/17 and taking the Durban franchise forward with the talented crop of players that now have a wealth of experience within it.

The likes of Cricket South Africa contracted players Kyle Abbott and David Miller have left the Dolphins and will continue their career at the Warriors and VKB Knights respectively, however, Morgan backs the talent that remains.

“It is a bit of blow to lose players like Kyle [Abbott] and David [Miller], however there is a huge amount of talent still left here at the Dolphins,” says Morgan.

“There is no doubt that a very competitive Dolphins team will represent the Dolphins in all formats come the start of the new season.”

Morgan is also confident the strength of the province’s two provincial squads – KwaZulu-Natal and KZN Inland – during the 2015/16 season will help create a healthy competition for places in the Dolphins mix come the new season.

“Inland, having performed extremely well this past season and KZN having done nicely outside of the 50 overs competition, has also meant there are guys waiting in the wings, who are hungry to play franchise cricket.

“You never want to lose anyone – they’re like family, their blood is Dolphins green – but at the same time, their departure gives some other guys an opportunity to show what they can do at franchise level.”

The conclusion of the South African domestic 2015/16 season saw Mat Pillans join Surrey in England, Thandi Tshabalala retired from the game, both Daniel Sincuba and Jonathan Vandiar joined The Unlimited Titans while Ryan McLaren – no longer a CSA contracted player – has opted not to sign a contract with any South African franchise for the 2016/17 season.

Former KwaZulu-Natal semi-professional contracted players Khalipha Cele (Free State) and Craig Kirsten also won’t be part of the Sunfoil Dolphins and KZN mix next season while Ayavuya Myoli – previously uncontracted, but who played much of the RAM Slam T20 Challenge for the Dolphins – has signed with the bizhub Highveld Lions.

Mthokozisi Shezi’s return to Durban on a permanent basis, having rejoined the Dolphins on a loan from the Cape Cobras during the second half of the 2016/17 season, is a pleasing one while exciting talents Sibonelo Makhanya, Sarel Erwee and Tshepang Dithole have all earned Franchise contracts for the first time.

“I was privileged to coach youngsters like De Kock, Bavuma and Hendricks while I was at the Highveld Strikers a few years ago and it is always great to see young talents like that making their way up the ladder.

“Our younger guys like Sibs [Makhanya], Andile [Phehlukwayo] and a few others are also massively exciting and certainly have the talent, for me, this season is all about trying to get them to settle,” says Morgan.

The Dolphins don’t have any reason to believe that Imran Tahir won’t turn out for them in 2016/17, however, confirmation of this is only expected in the near future due to the world class leg spinner yet to sign his CSA contract.

“The vast majority of our squad has been with us for some time now and we fully back their ability and talent to take us as a Franchise to where we want to be,” says Sunfoil Dolphins CEO, Pete de Wet.

“With Grant [Morgan] at the helm, we look forward to him harnessing this talent as best he can and helping each player, as well as our team as a whole, realise their full potential,” he adds.

Rabian Engelbrecht, Senuran Muthusamy, Brandon Scullard and Mishkal Ramsaroop have retained their KwaZulu-Natal semi-professional contracts and are joined by newcomers Smangaliso Nhlebela and Okuhle Cele with the KZN Cricket Union set to finalise negotiations with a seventh player shortly.

Kyle Nipper, Graham Hume, Ruhan Pretorius, Lefa Mosena, Attie Maposa, Kushen Kishun and Cyril Mthimkhulu have been granted a KZN Inland semi-professional contract for 2016/17.

Sunfoil Dolphins squad:

Craig Alexander, Cody Chetty, Cameron Delport, Tshepang Dithole, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Robbie Frylinck, Imraan Khan, Keshav Maharaj, Sibonelo Makhanya, Andile Phehlukwayo, Calvin Savage, Mthokozisi Shezi, Daryn Smit, Prenelan Subrayen, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Divan van Wyk, Morné van Wyk, Khaya Zondo

KwaZulu-Natal semi-professionals:

Okuhle Cele, Rabian Engelbrecht, Senuran Muthusamy, Smangaliso Nhlebela, Mishkal Ramsaroop, Brandon Scullard

KZN Inland semi-professionals:

Graham Hume, Kushen Kishun, Attie Maposa, Lefa Mosena, Cyril Mthimkhulu, Kyle Nipper, Ruhan Pretorius

More information can be found at www.dolphinscricket.co.za

- Supplied.

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