Titans coach Mark Boucher believes a strong start to the 4-Day Domestic Series season is vitally important if they want to challenge for the title come the end of the campaign.
The Centurion-based franchise will host the Dolphins at SuperSport Park when the 2019-20 term kicks off on Monday.
With the season reduced to just two franchise competitions this year – the first-class and List A tournaments – it means chances of success are even slimmer.
Boucher admits that his side, one of the most successful in South African history, needs to hit the ground running.
‘We’re keen to win every trophy available and so this will be no different,’ the Titans coach said. ‘I think selecting your squads this season was a bit different because you only have the 50-over and four-day formats to plan for.
‘With the one competition less, every team will know that there is little margin for error because there are only two bites at the cherry.
‘We’re no different, so we will need to hit the ground running and see how we can pick up some early momentum.
‘I think we’ve all seen it before that momentum is key in this competition, so if you can get off to a good start then you’re always one step ahead of the pack.’
Boucher believes they have prepared well for the season, saying they are determined to do much better than 2018-19 when they finished last in the four-day season.
‘It’s been a good pre-season for us, we’ve been busy playing quite a bit of cricket and I think that will play in our favour,’ he added. ‘We’ll be looking to get off to a strong start this season, we didn’t manage that last season.
‘But I think we up against a good team in the Dolphins. They’ll also be aiming to do the same, so it will be interesting to see how the game goes and how all the matches go early on in the competition.’
For the Dolphins, they are beginning a new journey under a new coach in Imraan Khan, who replaced Grant Morgan during the off-season.
The former Proteas opener is excited to begin his tenure and hopes he can be that man to revive a franchise that last won the first-class title nearly 15 years ago.
‘I think what I’m feeling is more sort of excitement rather than nerves,’ Khan said. ‘I think a lot of the work has been done in the winter, the boys have been fantastic.
‘Four-day cricket is a format that we’ve struggled with in the past, there’s no hiding about that.
‘It tests your most basic disciplines for long periods of time and that’s something we’ve spoken about. Now it’s all about going out there and executing.’
Looking ahead to facing the Titans, the Dolphins mentor added: ‘It’s not going to be an easy fixture, there’s no doubt about that.
‘They’re a very good side, a very well-organised and very well-coached team. But we’re confident in our abilities and we believe in the players that have been selected in our squad for the season. I think it will be a very good clash.’
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