Titans coach Mark Boucher has picked a full-strength, 14-man squad to travel to the Abu Dhabi T20 tournament.
‘There’s a lot of excitement with a number of the guys going to Abu Dhabi for the first time and playing in an international tournament.
‘We’ve got a couple of white-ball specialists, including our captain Albie Morkel, who has been preparing specifically for this tournament,’ said Boucher after today’s announcement.
The Titans squad is looking forward to the challenge after a terrific domestic season in 2017-18. The international T20 tournament starts in under a fortnight, with six domestic franchises from around the world battling it out for the honour of claiming the inaugural United Arab Emirates T20 title.
Set to be played at the Zayed Cricket Stadium over three days, the tournament offers the Titans a chance to tune up their T20 game against some of the world’s top franchise teams. Boucher has taken the proactive step of including youngsters Tony de Zorzi and Rivaldo Moonsamy as well as 24-year-old Tshepo Moreki.
‘The key is to give the youngsters the opportunity, but you don’t give youngsters opportunities with other youngsters. You give them a lot of seniority and guidance as well. To have guys like Chris [Morris], Farhaan [Behardien] and Albie, who have played international competitions around the world and have been successful as well in the teams they’ve been involved in, is huge for the side,’ Boucher noted.
‘To have a couple of the youngsters on tour for the first time abroad and to have these seniors in the team will put them in good stead for the future. They’ll learn a lot about themselves as cricketers and as individuals in a team environment.
‘Hopefully they come back looking at the game of cricket in a different way and hopefully, they can take it from strength to strength as the season progresses.’
The Titans will also play two four-day games on their Middle East tour.
‘No one really knows how conditions are going to play in Abu Dhabi. I’ve been there twice, and the first time we played against Pakistan, they left a lot of grass on the wicket and it was very good for the seamers,’ added Boucher.
‘The next time we went, the spinners came through. We’ll have to wait until we get there to assess conditions. But one thing’s for certain, it can only improve their game, playing those conditions. We want to win. That’s our culture. We’ve got a winning formula at the Titans, and we believe we’ve got a squad that can win it as well,’ said Boucher.
Titans Abu Dhabi T20 squad
Albie Morkel (c)
Theunis de Bruyn
Tony de Zorzi
Shaun von Berg
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix