The Titans resume their defence of the Momentum One-Day Cup with a gruelling schedule of three matches in five days, starting with the Highveld Lions today.
Coach Mark Boucher has impressed upon his players that the holidays are over, and they have to hit the ground running for three matches which could define their season.
They take on the Lions in Johannesburg today, followed by a home match against the Cobras on Friday and a Benoni match against the Warriors on Sunday.
‘The biggest test is coming back after a break or holiday period,’ Boucher said. ‘Especially after a successful season so far, it’s easy for the guys to turn off, particularly with their families all still being on holiday, it is a very difficult time of year to play cricket.
‘But we’ve spoken about it and sort of chased the elephant out the room. We understand it’s our profession and understand that it’s our own demons we need to take care of. Our skills are not going to change after eight or nine days, so I’m not worried about that. We just need to try and stay focused.’
They certainly got their campaign off emphatically with a bonus-point win over the Knights, and the players are determined to maintain the momentum.
Junior Dala, the competition’s leading wicket-taker last season with 16 scalps, said: ‘In the first game we lost about seven players to the Proteas and everyone thought we’d be a weakened team, but we won with a bonus point which shows how hungry the guys are.
‘For a numbers of the players who didn’t get the chance to play in the T20 campaign, they need to take their opportunities and that’s what they’re doing. We always have enough depth and the guys aren’t complacent.’
The Lions, with a 1-1 win ratio, have an equally demanding schedule, playing the Knights in Kimberley on Friday and the Cobras in Johannesburg on Sunday.
‘I’m really happy with the way we ended the year and I feel we did really well to get over the line against the Dolphins,’ said coach Geoffrey Toyana. ‘The fight the boys showed has really given us hope as we move into the New Year. It’s the hope that we need and hopefully we can build on that.’
Highveld Lions vs Titans (Johannesburg)
Knights vs Lions (Kimberley)
Titans vs Cape Cobras (Centurion)
Warriors vs Dolphins (Port Elizabeth)
Highveld Lions vs Cape Cobras (Johannesburg)
Titans vs Warriors (Benoni)
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix