Dolphins happy to be MTN40 underdogs

2010-10-26 00:00

It’s off with the whites and on with the pyjamas for the Dolphins this week, as the domestic campaign moves into the frenetic MTN40 Championship on Friday.

The Dolphins, who had mixed fortunes in their SuperSport Series matches, will start as one of the underdogs in the competition, but coach Graham Ford says that suits them just fine.

“It’s going to be a tight competition, but hopefully we can surprise a few sides and string together some good wins,” Ford told The Witness yesterday.

Ford, whilst in the midst of making the transition from SuperSport Series to MTN40, was still looking back ruefully at the weekend loss to the Lions at the Wanderers

A decision in favour of Neil McKenzie on the first day proved key in the final scheme of things, as the former Protea ace chalked up a sparkling century and the Lions piled up 400 in a day.

“The umpire apologised to us afterwards, which was big of him but, when you look back on it, that could have been the difference between winning and losing,” Ford pointed out.

Ford did say that his side hadn’t bowled well enough in favourable conditions on day one, but praised his charges for showing considerable guts to almost snatch a draw in Sunday’s dim light.

At the heart of the rearguard was last-minute debutant Devon Conway, who top-scored in both innings.

“The way Devon played was very exciting to see,” Ford said.

“He came into the side because Glen Addicott was very ill in the build-up, so he knew that he had a good chance of playing.”

The Dolphins minder, who has seen a fair few players in his time, rates the young left-hander as “one of the most exciting 19-year-olds I have seen in a long time”.

“He played some amazing shots in the circumstances, and he didn’t seem fazed at all by the pressure,” Ford enthused.

Conway, playing against former friends and seniors, arrived from Gauteng in the off-season, and Ford admits that he has made swift progress.

“He struggled initially to make the transition from England pitches to local conditions, but he has showed what he can do now.”

Conway and Addicott are also in the Dolphins’ plans for the MTN40 campaign, and Ford says the batch of exciting youngsters are likely to get their chance at some stage during the season.

Yusuf Abdullah, the burly left-arm seamer who has a happy knack of knocking people over with the white new ball, made a tentative return to action in the KZN Coastals one-day game in Oudtshoorn.

Abdullah’s return will also please new recruit Ravi Bopara, who knows “The Heater” from IPL duty.

Bopara made two starts at the Wanderers, but didn’t kick on.

“We have all seen what he can do, from international level through to the IPL, so we are all hoping that he finds his best touch at some stage,” Ford said.

Squad: Imraan Khan (Captain), Divan van Wyk, Ravi Bopara, Ahmed Amla, Daryn Smit, Glen Addicott, Kyle Abbott, Quinton Friend, Imran Tahir, Devon Conway, Cameron Delport, Loots Bosman, Jon Kent, Yusuf Abdulla, Kyle Nipper, Tabraiz Shamsi

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