Young Dolphins as injuries hit hard

2015-02-19 00:00

MORNÉ van Wyk leads a young and different looking Dolphins squad ­into the Wanderers bullring today for the four-day encounter against the log-leading Lions.

Having not reached the play-off of the recently completed One Day Cup competition, the Lions will look to consolidate their 15,84-point ­advantage over the second-paced ­Titans and are spoilt for choice when selecting their final eleven.

While the Dolphins have highlighted their depth this season with a reserve tank of talented but largely unblooded youngsters, they will start today’s match aware that the more senior players in the ranks will have to ensure the team stay in touch with proceedings.

Reaching the One-Day Cup ­play-off has taken its toll on the coastal men. Protea all-rounder Ryan McLaren — scorer of two centuries in the four-day format this season — is out of action due to his recurring ­hamstring injury which forced him to pull up after bowling 3.5 overs in that play-off against the Titans, and ­batting stalwart Vaughn van Jaarsveld is another not making the trip to his previous hunting ground.

Currently in a rich vein of form with the bat, Van Jaarsveld is said to have been struck down with pink eye, thus leaving a large hole in the batting lineup.

Coach Lance Klusener, in an effort to get 11 players on the park, has called in former SA U19 player Greg ­Oldfield and Senuran Muthusamy to bolster the ranks.

“We are struggling but we should be able to find a team for the ­weekend,” said Klusener. “With six four-day games ahead over a six-week stretch, it’s a tough ask to keep the players in shape and hope to call on the same lads every time.”

Fast man Craig Alexander is still recovering from his ankle injury which kept him out of the play-off and the bowling duties fall to Daryn Dupavillon, Tshepo Moreki and KZN Inland stalwarts Graham Hume and Matthew Pillans. Keeshav Maharaj will offer a spinning option, as will Daryn Smit, whose experience could prove vital as he holds the middle ­order batting together having been in and out the team this season.

“While we know that winning matches is what ultimately counts, our biggest challenge is to keep the boys fit,” said Klusener. “When this happens, we have to rotate players and this is where we are at now.”

On the other side of the coin, Lions skipper Stephen Cook is spoilt for choice regarding selection. “There is healthy competition for places and we can afford to select certain players for certain grounds and conditions,” he said. “Our only doubt is whether Lonwabo Tsotsobe will be back after an ankle injury.”

Whatever transpires in the Lions camp, the Dolphins are up against it before a ball has been bowled. Imraan Khan and Divan van Wyk at the top of the order will have to ensure a solid batting platform for Van Wyk, Cody Chetty and Smit to build upon and the young bowling attack will have to ensure line and length is of ­impeccable quality.

Perhaps their best plan of attack would be to bowl at the top of ­off-stump and induce mistakes from the Lions batsmen.

Dolphins Squad: Imraan Khan, Divan van Wyk, Daniel Sincuba, Cody Chetty, Morné van Wyk (C), Tshepo Moreki, Daryn Smit, Graham Hume, Matthew Pillans, Daryn Dupavillon, Keshav Maharaj, Greg Oldfield and Senuran Muthusamy.

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