• Abdullah, Schlemmer target big season

    KZN Inland will be hoping to build on a strong CSA Provincial T20 Cup campaign when they face the Central Gauteng Lions in the first round of the new season’s 3-Day Provincial Cup and One-Day Provincial Cup at the Pietermaritzburg Oval starting on Thursday.

    The Inland side showed positive early-season form when they made the finals of the T20 Cup where they lost to Easterns, and will hope to carry that momentum into their first game of the season this week.

    Once again Hollywoodbets have continued their support of the Pietermaritzburg-based provincial side for the second consecutive season and with the support of the sponsors will hope to build on their display of last season.

    It’s going to be a tough start to the season as Inland come up against a traditionally strong Gauteng side – a side that finished second in their pool last season in the three-day and one-day competition.

    As is tradition, the one-day cup match will follow the day after the conclusion of the three-day game which gives the sides very little time to recover.

    The side will have new management in the form of former Proteas T20 player Yusuf Abdullah as their head coach and former Dolphins star Ahmed Amla as assistant coach. Abdullah has come into the role and made a final already, so the early momentum is with him and his side.

    ‘We are very excited to get the season started properly now,’ Abdullah said. ‘The T20 really set the tone for us and although we didn’t win the title I think we learned some valuable lessons that are really important for us going forward.

    ‘I think in the T20 Cup we did the basics really well and had a positive mindset, this is something that we want to carry through the season.’

    It is a long season with ten three-day games on the cards for Inland and Abdullah is trying to create a strong culture within the squad.

    ‘We have worked hard in trying to make sure that the players are in a good space and I think it’s important that we know how the guys feel.

    ‘In the pre-season we put a lot of emphasis on team unity and I think that we have got a strong sense of unity within the squad going into the season.’

    Inland will be led by 2018-19 captain Luke Schlemmer again and Abdullah has confidence in the youngster.

    ‘It was his first season captaining the side last season and you could see that he was learning.

    ‘We are sure that he has grown as a leader and is the right man to take the side forward this season,’ he added.

    Photo: Gallo Images

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