Dolphins ready for Central Knights

2010-09-29 00:00

THE Dolphins are ready to make a splash in their SuperSport Series opener in Kimberley tomorrow.

Speaking at the franchise’s official season launch, coach Graham Ford said he was quietly excited after a long build-up in the off-season.

“We’ve worked hard with a lot of the guys, and now we will test ourselves in what I truly believe to be the toughest domestic competition in the world,” Ford enthused.

“If you look at how well the Warriors did in the Champions League, against some high quality sides, then you know what we are up against this season.”

Ford said that his relatively young core will face some trying times during the season, but he was also adamant that there is enough quality to mount a challenge.

A massive plus for the Dolphins is the arrival of leg-spinner Imran Tahir, fresh from another terrific season in county cricket.

“I have had three good seasons over there, and now I am really excited to be playing here for the Dolphins,” an eager Tahir said.

In many ways, it is a homecoming of sorts for the Pakistani-born Tahir, who has moved from the Titans.

“My wife is from here and she has always wanted me to play here. It’s great to be here, and I am really looking forward to hopefully continuing my form from overseas, and doing well for the Dolphins.”

Tahir will form an intriguing spin double with fellow newcomer Tabriaz Shamsi, the chinaman tweaker from Gauteng.

“Our attack is a little thin in the seam department, but the arrival of Tahir and Shamsi gives us a new dimension,” Ford said.

While the bowling is a slight concern, the Dolphins batsmen have been in sparkling form during the pre-season.

No less than ten hundreds were chalked up in the last two friendlies against the Cobras and Easterns, not to forget captain Imran Khan’s double ton against the Cobras at the PMB Oval.

One of those centurions was David Miller, and the new Proteas cap cannot wait to see what the season brings.

“It’s been a busy off-season, with the A-squad tour and the Proteas camp, but I am really keen to go out there and make some big contributions,” Miller declared.

With his reputation in the shorter formats firmly entrenched, the left-handed starlet is just as keen to be noted as a Test prospect.

“If I get the chance, I want to make some big hundreds and put up my hand for Test selection down the line, whenever that may be.”

OF course, this is World Cup season and Miller knows that a massive season could see him flying to India.

“It is a massive carrot, but all I am worried about at this stage is taking each game as it comes and doing the best I can.”

Dolphins CEO Jese Chellan also confirmed the signing of English batsman Ravi Bopara, with the deal just waiting for Cricket South Africa’s blessing.

“Ravi is a class act, and he was just as keen as we were to tie up a deal. He is likely to play in the one-dayers in Australia, so he will benefit from the experience, too.”

Ford said the arrival of Bopara, plus the small matter of one Kevin Pietersen landing next week, will be a huge plus for his squad.

“To be able to pick the brains of these guys, who have played for massive teams under great coaches, it really is a great opportunity.“When you look for these overseas guys, it is more about what they can bring to the dressing-room sometimes. Obviously they will look to make runs for their own aspirations, and if some of the younger guys can be out in the middle for any length of time with them, it will be priceless.”

The Dolphins leave for Kimberley today, ahead of their SuperSport Series opener against the Central Knights [formerly Eagles] tomorrow.

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