Fast bowler Junior Dala is eagerly anticipating Saturday’s 3TC Solidarity Cup at SuperSport Park after experiencing a troubled past season on the sidelines for an extended period.
Dala will feature alongside AB de Villiers for the Takealot Eagles in Centurion as they aim to become the first winners of Cricket South Africa’s new three-team format.
But, more importantly, it will present the 30-year-old Dala with a crucial opportunity to get some much-needed overs under his belt, given the circumstances under which the domestic season ended in March.
‘It has been tough times. We have been quite limited the past few months until more recently when we’re allowed to run outdoors,’ admitted Dala.
‘But there hasn’t been any bowling as such. I know we’re meant to be in pre-season which is a time when a lot of the guys try and top up their skills. We haven’t had that, so now it’s nice to get out and play again. Even though it’s not what we’re used to, it will be competitive, we all have that as players and we look forward to it.’
Despite feeling fit and ready to perform on Saturday, Dala remains slightly cautious about the fact that those injury problems are firmly behind him as South African cricketers begin preparations for the upcoming season.
‘I was coming back from two injuries [when the season abruptly ended],’ he explained.
‘Both have hampered me in the last season, so hopefully that is behind me now. Physically I’m fit but I’ll only really know once I bowl. I think I’m healthy, I’ve worked really hard so I’m looking forward to having an injury-free season.’
Saturday’s match will get under way at 10:45am and will be broadcast live on SuperSport2 but, given the complexity of the format, Dala says some of the players are still trying to fully understand how it will all work out.
‘I’ve seen the videos that have been advertised and I have a rough understanding of the game. I spoke to my teammate Aiden [Markram] the other day and we think the best approach is to go at it with an open mind because it’s great playing cricket anyway.
‘If you’re going to think about it too much then you’re just going to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Fortunately we have that warm-up game on Thursday and I’ll try to get used to the rules then. For now, I’m just working on the skills side of things and see if I can bowl straight.’
The 3TC squads are:
Mr D Food Kites: Quinton De Kock (c), Temba Bavuma, Jon-Jon Smuts, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Anrich Nortje. Coach: Wandile Gwavu.
OUTsurance Kingfishers: Heinrich Klaasen (c), Reeza Hendricks, Janneman Malan, Faf du Plessis, Thando Ntini, Gerald Coetzee, Glenton Stuurman, Tabraiz Shamsi. Coach: Mignon du Preez.
Takealot Eagles: AB de Villiers (c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Andile Phehlukwayo, Bjorn Fortuin, Junior Dala, Lungi Ngidi. Coach: Geoffrey Toyana.
Still wondering how #3TCricket works? Well let’s hear it from the players themselves!
— 3TCricket (@3TCricket) July 8, 2020