Cobras batsman Zubayr Hamza is relishing the opportunity to test and improve his skills at the 2017-18 CSA spin camp in India.
Hamza had a difficult time during his first season struggling to making the starting line up for the Cobras in 2016-17. The disruptions that came with the departure of Paul Adams as head coach made it difficult for any young Cobras cricketer to focus on his game.
However, Hamza showed great maturity to put a bad season behind him. Under the guidance of new coach Ashwell Prince, the 22-year-old solidified his spot in the Cobras’ top order. He finished the 2017-18 season fourth on the top run-scorers’ list in the Sunfoil Series, notching up 828 runs, which included four fifties and three centuries.
As a result, he was selected as one of six specialist batsmen who will be joining ten of South Africa’s best spinners on the domestic scene at the CSA spin camp in Mumbai.
‘I think the camp has come at the right time. It’s a good opportunity for me to enhance my skills and I am continuously looking to improve and adapt, and I think this will be massively beneficial,’ said Hamza.
‘Any opportunity for me to play cricket at a higher level is good for me, and my growth and experience.
‘Especially being offered the opportunity to travel to India and play in sub-continent conditions where it is very conducive to spin. That is massive for me. Along with playing with and against some quality spinners.’
His domestic form also earned him a spot in the South Africa A side that faced Australia in a warm-up match ahead of the Test Series between the Proteas and Australia where he scored 44 and 28 in his two innings.
The right-hander is aware that he still needs to refine certain aspects of his game and hopes to improve throughout the upcoming spin camp.
‘As a top order batsman, you usually get fed a barrage of fast-paced bowling, so it is not all the time that you get to face spinners.
‘This camp will afford me the opportunity to face not just quality but a lot of quantity of spin bowling and it will allow me to increase my armoury of shots and that’s something I’m really looking forward to,’ said Hamza.
The former Rondebosch Boys’ High School pupil displayed his hunger to gain knowledge, the most important aspect for him during this tour.
‘Every opportunity to travel enhances my worldview. So apart from a different culture and environment, I will be experiencing on that side of the world, I will have a lot of players that I’ll be travelling with, whom are usually my opponents in the domestic scene.
‘Being able to learn from them and their different perspectives and views of the game as well as the world-class coaches that we’re travelling with, to kind of pick their brains to gain experience by learning from them – those are some things I am really looking forward to ahead of the camp.’
Former Proteas coach Russell Domingo and former Proteas batting coach Neil McKenzie will be present at the camp, as well as Proteas assistant coach Malibongwe Maketa and Proteas bowling coach Claude Henderson.
‘We have some of the best cricketing minds around the country that are going with us on the camp and I am really looking forward to learning as much as I can from them,’ Hamza concluded.
The 2018 Spin Camp will take place between 28 April and 6 May, with the players and coaching staff based in Mumbai, India.
Spin Bowling Camp Squad:
Batsmen: Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), Tony de Zorzi (Titans), Zubayr Hamza (Cape Cobras), Christiaan Jonker (Warriors), Sinethemba Qeshile (Warriors), Rudi Second (Knights)
Bowlers: Junaid Dawood (Cape Cobras), Bjorn Fortuin (Highveld Lions), George Linde (Cape Cobras), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Gregory Mahlokwana (Titans), Senuran Muthusamy (Dolphins), Tsepo Ndwandwa (SWD), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Shaun von Berg (Titans)
Coaches: Malibongwe Maketa, Claude Henderson, Russell Domingo, Neil McKenzie
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix