Time for the KZN Dolphins to take stock

2008-12-10 00:00

MUCH of the focus this season for the Dolphins has been on the Champion’s League tournament in India, which was called off because of the terror attacks in Mumbai.

From the Dolphins’ results so far this season, it appears likely that their focus has been elsewhere and this is perhaps the only plausible excuse for their performance so far. They have not won a single game this season and will need to regroup and attend to the immediate job at hand, which is to compete in and try to win the domestic competitions.

With what promised to be a very lucrative competition now cancelled, the players will need to put their disappointments behind them and focus on rescuing the season.

With young players making up the Dolphins side, it’s understandable that they had their minds on the Champion’s League Trophy, especially after all the razzmatazz and prestige of the Indian Professional League at the end of last season.

What an opportunity it would have been for the young Dolphins players to be travelling to India and to be involved in such a prodigious event.

It’s now time for the players to come down to earth and take a hard look at where they stand on the log tables.

It doesn’t look pretty, but a few good results and the Dolphins could find themselves back in contention.

Unfortunately, the current Dolphins team appears a far cry from the side that qualified for the Champion’s League by winning the dramatic final of the 20/20 domestic competition. Their results reflect the style of cricket they are playing and it can hardly be described as match-winning.

So what is the way forward for the Dolphins?

The coaching staff will need to be at their best to get full value out of the players and make the necessary changes. One hopes the development system is in place to enable selectors to draw from a pool of talented youngsters to replace those who are not at their best.

It’s obvious that the team can’t perform any worse than they have already this season, and pressure on those players who have not performed is a good thing. Proteas pace bowler Makhaya Ntini is a good example of this. After being dropped from the Proteas, he went back to the Warriors, worked hard, found good form and has now secured his place in the South African squad touring Australia.

Dropping players is essential to giving under-performing teams a good shake-up and to remind players that they are not invincible.

Perhaps the cancellation of the Champion’s League tournament in Mumbai has been a blessing in disguise for the Dolphins. Let’s hope they use this opportunity to take stock and ensure they have the right players to restore their season.

* Neil Johnson is a former Natal, WP and Zimbabwe all-rounder who now lives and coaches in Pietermaritzburg.

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