Temba Bavuma and Vernon Philander will be a part of the Cobras squad for their pre-season campaign.
According to the Cape Cobras’ official website, they will play in two two-day warm-up games against the Warriors from 8-14 September, separated by a rest day on the 11th September.
Assistant coach of the Cobras, Faiek Davids, confirmed that the whole squad (with the exception of the overseas-based players Richard Levi, Rory Kleinveldt and Stiaan van Zyl) will be on tour.
The Boland squad members who are playing in the Africa T20 Cup (Simon Khomari, Justin Ontong, Lizaad Williams and Pieter Malan) will only be available for the first franchise warm-up game.
Philander’s return is, however, pending on his rehabilitation. The 32-year-old missed the final Test against England with a back spasm and is currently being monitored, and discussions with the national team management are ongoing whether he will be fit enough to play in Oudtshoorn.
Davids has confirmed that ex-Lions and Proteas batsman Bavuma will definitely play.
Davids said one of the goals for the season is to play a positive brand of cricket, reminiscent of the second half of last season when the team won three out of five four-day clashes.
‘We not only want to score centuries, but big hundreds, not to save games but to win them,’ said Davids. ‘The team wants to bat deep and open up, scoring tons to set up games.’
The Cape Cobras boast a strong middle order and there is depth in the bowling department.
In terms of the top order, there might be a challenge between Malan and Khomari who will partner Andrew Puttick.
Davids said it was imperative for the team to hit the ground running. The team had a ‘fantastic’ pre-season and the unity in the squad is special. ‘There are no excuses and it is vital for the Cobras to get off to a flyer.’
They will meet the Knights in the opening Sunfoil Series match of the season at the Mangaung Oval from 19-22 September, followed by a four-day clash with the Warriors at the St. George’s Cricket Ground in Port Elizabeth from 28 September to 1 October.
Proteas star batsman Hashim Amla will be available for the opening match of the season against the Knights, which will open up different combinations.
‘There are so many options available to us in the top order as we look at Jason Smith, Malan [a possibility at number three], Justin Ontong, Zubayr Hamza and Aviwe Mgijima. We are in a very good space as a team,’ said Davids.
‘One obvious aim is to strike more centuries this season. The advent of T20 cricket has changed the game. More players, even at test level, are using shots like the reverse sweep to advance the scoring rate,’ he said.
The Cobras will host the Knights at the Recreation Ground from 6-9 October, and the Warriors from 16-19 October at Newlands.
They will return to the Recreation Ground from 23-26 October against the Dolphins to conclude the first half of the Sunfoil series of 2017-2018.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images