KZN Dolphins’ double delight

2010-04-22 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins this week announced their contracted players for next season, and the list is in line with the Kingsmead outfit’s new push for youth in the province.

With an average age of just 19, this new batch of Dolphins may be wet behind the ears, but there is plenty of promise to get excited about.

The Dolphins will start their pre-season plans as early as May this year, as coach Graham Ford seeks to shake the franchise’s players out of their comfort zones and build a squad strong enough to rebuild the Dolphins’ proud name.

The Dolphins have added two highly promising talents from Gauteng — a move which reverses the trend of local talents making the trek up north in search of opportunities.

As it is, the duo that CEO Jesse Chellan and company have lured may well develop into national prospects if handled properly.

Most intriguing is the capture of Tabraiz Shamsi, the left-arm wrist spinner who is well-known to both the Dolphins and the KZN-Inland side, after strong performances against both for the Lions and the Gauteng amateur side respectively.

Shamsi left the Wanderers-based franchise after the arrival of Proteas slow bowler Paul Harris. Gauteng cricket’s loss is undoubtedly the Dolphins’ gain, because left-arm wrist-spinners are as rare as honest politicians these days.

Shamsi’s arrival — along with that of Imran Tahir — suggests a move towards a diffrent strategy by the Dolphins. With Kingsmead having lost its fearsome reputation for pace and bounce, the word is that the Dolphins are set to transfer a lot more of their matches to the PMB Oval, as there is more in it for the type of game they are trying to play.

A double dose of wrist-spin is a rare thing in local cricket, and there will be keen interest to see just how Ford utilises the contrasting talents of the spin twins.

Another exciting find is Devon Conway, a schoolboy prodigy from St Johns in Johannesburg.

Backed up by an avalanche of runs in schools cricket, Conway is regar­ded as one of the next big things, and the Dolphins will no doubt boost an already promising middle-order with another lethal left-hand bat.

Added to Tahir’s capture, it is clear the Dolphins’ suits have been busy.

That is not to say that the locals have been forgotten. Several youngsters — including St Charles product Matthew Hulett — have been granted rookie deals.

There is an optimism around Kingsmead, but there is much work to be done before any of the promise is turned into results in the middle.

Ford, speaking to The Witness last night, did add that though there are 20 names on the list, the door is always open for those “triallists”, who are in the winter training squad, to put their names forward and land themselves a playing deal.

“The point of this camp is to make sure that the guys are battle-har­dened for the season, and also to suss out which guys we can use going forward,” Ford explained.

“We will work a lot on skills, making sure that guys can switch from four-day to one-day with a minimum of fuss, and we are also looking for the right kind of players to fit into what we are trying to build here,” he added.

Ford’s plans include sessions with the respected Richard Pybus, whose addition to the Kingsmead staff has been very well received.

The pieces of the puzzle have finally been revealed, but it is now up to Ford and his band of players to put the jigsaw together as well as they can.


*New signings

Hashim Amla – CSA Contract, Loots Bosman – CSA Contract, Quinton Friend, David Miller, Yusuf Abdulla, Daryn Smit, Ahmed Amla, Imraan Khan, Jon Kent, Bradley Barnes, *Khaya Zondo, *Imran Tahir, *Cameron Delport, *Kyle Abbott, *Mthokozisi Shezi, *Keshav Maharaj, *Tabraiz Shamsi, *Devon Conway, *Cody Chetty - Rookie, *Matthew Hulett - Rookie.

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