Cape Town - The Paarl Rocks franchise was officially launched at a function in the President’s suite at Boland Park in Paarl on Monday.
The event was attended by captain Faf du Plessis as well as Adrian Birrell (head coach), Geoffrey Toyana (assistant coach), Drakenstein Mayor Conrad Poole and other local dignitaries which included former Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers.
The Rocks will compete in Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Mzansi Super League and will be based at Boland Park.
The tournament is scheduled to run from November 16 to December 16, 2018.
Du Plessis said he is very excited to lead the Rocks.
“I’m certainly very proud to be involved with the Paarl Rocks. Last year the Proteas guys started chatting among each other where we’d like to go and me having moved down to Cape Town from Pretoria, I knew that the Cape was always going to go to JP (Duminy) so I was the first to say please, please, please can I go to Paarl. So I was hopeful that it could happen and when I got the nod to go to Paarl I was obviously very happy as it’s quite close to home. Me being a wine drinker myself coming to the Winelands is obviously very nice,” a relaxed Du Plessis told members of the media.
Birrell, who is a former Proteas assistant coach, said that it’s an exciting time for cricket lovers in the Boland.
“It’s very exciting for Paarl to have its own franchise in the form of the Paarl Rocks. I think credit must be given to Boland Cricket for securing the franchise and it’s great to think that we’re going to have international and national players on view here,” he said.
The Paarl Rocks’ big attraction will be all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
However, the West Indian will be unavailable for most of the tournament as he has committed to play in the Dubai T10 tournament which will run from November 23 until December 2.
There will also be a strong local flavour to the Rocks with Henry Davids (top order batsmen and part time off-spinner) and Bjorn Fortuin (left-arm spinner) hailing from the Boland and Dane Paterson and Tsepo Moreki (fast bowlers) having played a lot of cricket for the Cape Cobras at Boland Park.
The batting line-up looks strong with Du Plessis as the anchor in the middle and Davids, Cameron Delport, Paul Stirling, Aiden Markram and wicketkeeper-batsmen Mangaliso Mosehle all capable of playing big innings at the top of the order.
There is variety in the bowling department with Paterson and Bravo who are skilled death bowlers, the orthodox spin of Fortuin and Du Plessis will probably rely heavily on the left-arm wrist spin of Tabraiz Shamsi.
When asked of the lack of a recognised “finisher” coming in at No 6 or 7, Birrell acknowledged that it might be seen as a shortcoming for his team.
“Yes, there is that but we had to have a strategy of how we were going to go about things and our first strategy was spin, our next strategy was death bowling and then we went for batters. But we have guys like Bravo, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Patrick Kruger and Grant Thompson who can all clear the ropes at the back end of the innings.
The Paarl Rocks play their first game in the Mzansi Super League against AB de Villiers’ Tshwane Spartans at home at Boland Park on Sunday, November 18.
It promises to be rocking good…