Lions coach, Geoffrey Toyana, is excited to watch his new generation of players perform in the T20 Challenge.
The Johannesburg-based side will launch their T20 campaign against old rivals the Titans at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday.
The match is the second of a double-header outing at the same venue, which marks the start of this season’s domestic 20-over calendar.
The Lions have plenty of new faces in their squad, which for the first time, will be led by Proteas spinner, Aaron Phangiso.
‘We’re excited with the young squad that we have,’ coach Toyana said.
‘Obviously losing Dwaine (Pretorius) to the Proteas is a big blow, but it’s part of our job as franchise coaches to blood players, so this is another chance for someone to step in.
‘But we’re not going to hide behind the fact that we do have a young side and it’s quite exciting in many ways. Someone like Nicky van den Berg has come in and done exceptionally well and he’s also part of that leadership team (as vice-captain).
‘It’s also a wonderful chance for someone like Phangiso to show what he can do. He’ll have good support from the likes of Alviro Petersen, who is back in the mix.’
Toyana said it was important for them to start the five-week long competition with a win at home against their cross-Jukskei rivals.
‘It’s a new competition and a new start for everyone,’ he added.
‘We’d obviously like to do well once again by going all the way and winning it.
‘We have a home game to start, we have new leadership within the group as well and we’re playing our neighbours, so it should be a cracker.’
The Titans are the defending champions after beating the Dolphins in last season’s final.
Captain Albie Morkel admits that they too have plenty of players absent due to injury and national duty, but says they will not change their attacking approach to T20 cricket at any expense.
‘We have lost Chris Morris through injury, Graeme van Buuren (overseas), Tabraiz Shamsi and Quinton de Kock (national duty), but we won’t change our style,’ the veteran all-rounder says.
‘We would rather lose wickets and still end up scoring 170 or 180 than revert back to a conservative style.’
The Titans are also top of the table in the four-day Sunfoil Series and will be looking to continue their progress under new coach Mark Boucher.
Lions squad: Reeza Hendricks, Devon Conway, Rassie van der Dussen, Nicky van den Bergh, Eddie Leie, Bjorn Fortuin, Alviro Petersen, Nono Pongolo, Aaron Phangiso (c), Hardus Viljoen, Dominic Hendricks, Mangaliso Mosehle, Wiaan Mulder, Matt McGillivray.
Titans squad: Farhaan Behardien, David Wiese, Henry Davids, Lungi Ngidi, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, Albie Morkel (c), Grant Mokoena, Malusi Siboto, Qaasim Adams, Heino Kuhn, Junior Dala, Shaun von Berg.