The Titans squad for October 2018’s Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy features a string of Proteas past, present and future. Here, we profile five players with points to prove in the United Arab Emirates.
1) Tshepo Moreki
The former Cape Cobras fast bowler has moved to the Titans – and will hope coach Mark Boucher’s first experience of the UAE, not the first – is evident.
‘I’ve been there twice and the first time we played against Pakistan, they left a lot of grass on the wicket and it was very good for the seamers. The next time we went, the spinners came through,’ said Boucher.
Moreki naturally wants conditions conducive for seam, not veritable Gulf dustbowls.
2) Chris Morris
Cricket South Africa convener of selectors Linda Zondi recently insisted the talented all-rounder remains in contention for a World Cup berth, despite not being selected for October’s T20I and ODIs against Zimbabwe. Morris was sidelined by a back injury during the Indian Premier League and this tournament will mark a welcome return to competitive cricket.
3) Theunis de Bruyn
The talented right-hander relished a maiden century for the Proteas during the tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year, but won’t want to be pigeonholed as a four- or five-day cricketer. This tournament, then, against challenging T20 franchises such as the Hobart Hurricanes, Yorkshire Vikings and Lahore Qalandars will provide him with the opportunity to do just that.
4) Albie Morkel
Boucher stated the Titans captain is ‘preparing specifically for this tournament’, which bodes well for a 37-year-old determined to maintain relevance in the shortest format. Morkel, of course, has played for several T20 franchises around the world – the Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Rising Pune Supergiants, Royal Challengers Bangalore and St Lucia Zouks – and will impart plenty of knowledge and experience on the rest of the squad.
5) Eldred Hawken
A relatively recent graduate to franchise cricket after several telling performances for Northerns in provincial competition, the inspired right-armer is on course to follow in the footsteps of Titans stalwart Morne Morkel. Lean and quick, Hawken boasts attributes similar to Morkel. A successful enough Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy could really set himself apart from pretenders, ahead of plenty of T20 cricket during the South African 2018-19 season.
Photo: Gallo Images