Change of gear for Dolphins ahead of One-Day Cup

2012-11-01 00:00

WITH a frustrating start to the domestic season in the Sunfoil four-day competition behind them, the Dolphins are changing gear as they head into the 50-over Momentum One-Day Cup.

Their first assignment is on Sunday, weather permitting, against the Cobras, at Pietermaritzburg Oval, and the team is committed to playing hard cricket and displaying the fighting spirit which has been a trademark of its cricket this season.

Coach Lance Klusener has practised what he has preached, instilling a sense of pride and determination in the team, awakening a sleeping giant and letting fellow franchises know they are up against an outfit ready to win and show no mercy.

A scheduled 50-over practice match at Kingsmead was washed out yesterday, adding more frustration as far as preparation is concerned, although today has been set aside as another opportunity.

Said Klusener: “Our preparation has been haphazard due to the weather but we know that on the field, it's more a mental challenge than actual skill. We have a great unit and the guys are keen to get some playing time under the belt.

“Lonwabo Tsotsobe has joined us and definitely gives us options in the bowling department. He has a point to prove being left out of the current Australian tour and despite lacking recent playing time, he has pushed through a couple of overs for us …”

Also in the mix are Robbie Frylinck and Dave Miller, fresh from winning the Hong Kong sixes as vital cogs in the South African team. While it’s unrealistic to compare that tournament to what lies ahead for the Dolphins, Klusener touched on an important point with these two players in the team.

“Being part of a winning team, especially a South African team, these guys are on a high and still enjoying that feeling. They bring a positive energy to the dressing room and share that with the other players, making them want to taste it too …” he said.

A few rule changes for the competition should alter the dynamics and present new challenges, especially to younger players and captaincy strategies. These rules allow a bowler two bouncers in an over and an extra fielder must be in the ring, making five instead of the normal four.

While this gives a bowler slight advantage in one area where he can use the short ball to find a batsman out, the fielding rule poses interesting scenarios.

Said Klusener: “Having the extra man in the ring makes taking the sharp single more tricky. Normally, when a batsman comes in and is on strike, he can work a quick single to get the senior partner on strike. Now it becomes tougher and from a captain’s perspective, he needs his bowlers to be on the button as any width or a ball slightly off line will be punished. We are all in the same boat and will get used to the idea.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s clash, Klusener said that despite the Cobras being without Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt, they were a solid and respected unit.

However, his focus is on what his side can deliver.

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