Cape Town - Cape Cobras coach Paul Adams is hoping the decision to allow Kieron Pollard to lead them will inspire a season turnaround as they prepare to host the Dolphins in a T20 Challenge clash at Newlands in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The West Indian superstar captained the struggling Cape side to a first win of the 2016/17 season last Friday against the Warriors, but they were back on the losing trail with defeat to the Highveld Lions on Sunday.
It was difficult to read anything into the latest loss, though, as it came in a rain-affected match in which the Cobras got to face just six overs, making 66 out of the 70 required.
“He's a big player around the world and one of the most dynamic T20 players around,” Adams said of the skipper. “So we want to try and maximise his services while we have him here.
“He is also a player that demands a high standard and players tend to respond to that. There's an aura about him, which is really great for him. With Justin sitting out, he's had a big influence.”
Adams has also praised his team for their recent improvements, but feels more consistency is required. “If I look at the last two games, we didn't match up what we did on Friday with Sunday,” he explained. “So for me it's searching for that consistency, the intensity of players and how they play the game. I'm making them aware of where we are at, so it's just about keeping the same high standards.”
The Cobras are currently second bottom on the early-season log, with the Dolphins a place above them, both having registered one win each so far.
“Both of us are in the same position,” Adams added. “Both are searching for that consistency and those perfect combinations, so there's no doubting the importance of the game. It's going to be a good one to watch.”
Andrea Agathangelou has been rewarded for scoring four centuries in five Sunfoil Cup Provincial Three-Day Competition innings by a first inclusion in the franchise squad.
For the Dolphins, Kevin Pietersen’s stint is over for now with the former England batsman due to return for the final four games of the competition.
The Durbanites will want to make sure they at least stay in play-off contention until then, but coach Grant Morgan is ruing the fact that they have been plagued by so many injuries.
“Obviously Kevin Pietersen aside, it has been a bit frustrating not being able to put the same side out on the park one game after another,” he added. “We’ve got seven players unavailable for selection, but in a way that has also galvanized the squad as the guys know that they’ve got an extended run and hopefully they can take some confidence from that.”
Cobras squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Beuran Hendricks, Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, George Linde, Aviwe Mgijima, Tshepo Moreki, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Keegan Petersen, Nkululeko Serame, Jason Smith, Cebo Tshiki, Andrea Agathangelou.
Dolphins squad: Morne van Wyk (captain), Craig Alexander, Cody Chetty, Cameron Delport, Rabian Engelbrecht, Robbie Frylinck, Mbasa Gqadushe, Kyle Nipper, Prenelan Subrayen, Mthokozisi Shezi, Imran Tahir, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo.