Ready to give his all

2013-10-09 00:00

IF Dolphins batsman Jonathan Vandiar’s weekend form is a guideline on what to expect from him this season, the thought of a trophy in the Dolphins cabinet come the final ball of the season might not be that far-fetched.

This past weekend, Vandiar played for the KZN Coastal team against Northerns, at Kingsmead, in a three-day and one-day 50-over clash.

He was in sublime form, making 91 and 103 in the longer format and 92* in the one-dayer.

Such is the nature of the game though that yesterday, playing in a warm-up game on the same pitch as the one-day match, he was dismissed for a single.

However, Vandiar oozes confidence as he begins his second season at “home” having returned to Durban after four seasons with the Lions.

“Last season was way below my best and what I can deliver,” he said. “It made me realise I needed to do some work in the off season and having done that, I feel I am prepared in all departments — mentally, physically and with my game.”

Vandiar singles out Christo Spies, a new face in the Dolphins set-up, who is tasked with preparing the players mentally for what lies ahead.

“He has helped me tremendously and I have focused heavily on my mental approach this time around,” he said. “I have worked on my batting and fitness in the off season and am raring to go. I started hitting balls in July and am in a good space.”

Batting at three in the four-day competition last season and opening in the 50-over format, injury early in the season curtailed his progress as he returned for the 20-over domestic competition. By his own admission, he had a “shocking” tournament.

“It’s not all about me though. It’s about winning trophies for the Dolphins,” he said. “Last season, we finished strongly in the four-day format and had to win against the Warriors in East London to qualify for the semi-final of the one-day competition. A bad start in the T20 competition ruin­ed our hopes, but the season was nowhere near as bad as people make out.”

Vandiar (23) played for the SA U19 team after matriculating at DHS and played two one-dayers and five four-day matches for the Dolphins before heading across the Vaal River.

“I wanted to be independent and face life on my own for a while,” he said. “My time with the Lions was productive and I feel I contributed toward their cause. My family is very important to me and I missed them while in Gauteng. It’s great to have come home and now I need to let my bat do the talking.”

Speaking on the Dolphins squad, Vandiar said the players were tuned in to what lay ahead and by working as a team, were confident of bringing some silverware to Durban after a long absence.

“Having a mental coach has added a new dimension to our approach and we all realise there is a job to be done,” he said. “The players know where they want to be and have worked toward reaching that place. We are in the starting blocks ready to come out fighting.”

The Dolphins start their season this weekend, playing the Lions in the opening round of the Momentum One-Day Cup (50 overs) at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, on Sunday.

“I’m not sure if I will be in the team, but I am ready to perform in all formats of the game,” said Vandiar. “I have gone back to basics with my batting and am ready to contribute whenever I have the opportunity. Barring injury, I have a good feeling about this season and think it will be one to remember for me, for the right reasons.”

Vandiar Lifestyle

Is a strong Christian and loves God

Loves fishing in Durban Bay — “It puts me in a good space and gets me away from cricket.”

Has caught a 4,5 kg grunter and rock cod in recent months.

Watches plenty of soccer and is a Chelsea supporter.

Does not like cooking.

Family and friends are important in his life.

Eats most food, but is allergic to shellfish.

Listens mainly to gospel music.

Doesn’t read much, but it’s his Bible when he does.

Spends lots of time with God and faces the ups and downs of life and cricket with strong faith and belief.

Movies are a favourite way to relax. Thrillers and action preferred, although he watches anything, having to finish a movie once he has started watching.

Favourite batsmen are Michael Bevan, Mike Hussey, Hashim Amla.

Quickest bowler faced — Australian Shaun Tate (Faced six balls, got a four off the hip, bowled next ball)

Advice for young players

“Times have changed and young people are too involved with cellphones, iPads and social media.

“They have forgotten about sport and the outdoors.

“How many children ask for a bat or ball for Christmas these days?

“Sport has become poorer as children do not want to get involved, preferring to do thumb exercises with games and the like.

“Use your talent, put your mind to what you do and work at it. God has given everyone a talent. Don’t waste it.”

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