Tough Inland opener against Province

2009-10-01 00:00

KZN Inland embark on the 2009/10 season with a tough opener against Western Province at the Maritzburg Oval from today.

This three-day Provincial Challenge match is followed by the 45-over clash on Sunday.

Player/coach Doug Watson told The Witness yesterday that the Inland team would be going all out to give of their best and play as a team, and should they get that right, positive outcomes are likely to follow.

Regarding new Inland skipper Tim Drummond’s possible unavailability at times during the season due to his place in the SA hockey squad, Watson said it was a factor that he and the selectors had discussed.

“If Tim is selected for the SA hockey team, all it means is that another player will get the chance to captain Inland,” said Watson.

Inland are going to miss last season’s captain Ross McMillan. Apart from his ability as a leader, McMillan’s qualities as a top-order batsman and bowler leave a big gap.

Inland’s lone new cap is 34-year-old Dipak Anand, a top-order batsman. Watson said Anand should help give Inland better starts, a major problem last season.

Watson said he is unconcerned about local criticism of Anand’s age and where he is from. Several local fans have complained to The Witness that a Pietermaritzburg player should have been given the opportunity, while also questioning the wisdom of not giving a youngster a chance rather than a man in his thirties. They also claim the purpose of this level of SA cricket is to bring on promising young players.

“No one put their hands up last season,” Watson said. “Age doesn’t come into it. What is more important right now is that Inland need a decent start at the top of the order.”

Former Inland star Bradley Moses returns after a stint in Durban and should also help stabilise the top-order.

WP have a quality top-order batsman in Alistair Gray, a right-hand bat who boasts a first-class average of 37, while the Cape Town men have a potential match-winner in fast bowler Mario Olivier, who is one of the rare cricketers of all time to have taken all 10 wickets in a first-class innings.

TEAMS: KZN Inland: Tim Drummond (capt), Mario Olivier, Dipak Anand, Glen Addicott, Doug Watson (player/coach), Bradley Moses, Kyle Nipper, Morne Van Vuuren, Oliver Humphries, Mbasa Gqadushe, Narvaar Harridave, Sashen Dorasamy, Richard Hlela.

Western Province: Martin Walters (capt), Moeneeb Abass, Zahid Allie, Bevan Bennett, Alistair Gray, Mondli Mahlombe, Mario Olivier, Dane Piedt, Gershwin Rabie, Romano Ramoo, Abdul Aziz Temoor, Mogamat Yaseen Vallie, Esmund van Wyk. Coach: Salieg Nackerdien.

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