The Dolphins are open to upping the risk factor in four-day cricket this season but are looking to eliminate last season’s first innings batting and bowling failings.
In a repeat of last season’s four-day campaign, the Dolphins get their Four-Day Franchise Series underway with a trip to the defending champions Titans at SuperSport Park, Centurion, starting on Wednesday.
A season opener against the Titans away from home is an exciting prospect, and with many of the Dolphins stars having been busy playing good, competitive cricket in the off-season coach Grant Morgan believes that his players will hit the ground running.
‘We are quietly confident that there are just a couple of small things that we need to get right this season,’ Morgan said. ‘We just need to prevent those small batting collapses and the few poor sessions in the field.
‘Those might have been the differences last season, even though we went into the final round of the competition with a chance of winning it.’
The Dolphins will be without the services of captain Khaya Zondo and Andile Phehlukwayo, who are with the Proteas ahead of their limited-overs series with Zimbabwe. Also missing from the squad is SJ Erwee, who is unavailable for selection, while Dane Vilas is yet to return from Lancashire.
Keshav Maharaj will lead the squad that is still filled with quality with Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Robbie Frylinck, Senuran Muthusamy and Cody Chetty helping Maharaj form a strong backbone.
Young KZN Inland star Grant Roelofsen receives his first call-up to the Dolphins squad, while there is space for another exciting youngster in Marques Ackerman. Lwandiswa Zuma gets his first four-day squad call-up after being plagued by injuries last season.
‘With a few holes in your set-up with players away it is a great opportunity for youngsters to come to the party.
‘It’s really exciting to have a host of these younger guys involved and getting an opportunity to test themselves at franchise level.’
Having been in two limited overs finals last season, Morgan knows that four-day cricket is where his squad needs to improve; he believes that he knows where they can make changes to get better results.
‘We might be privy to taking a few more calculated risks in four-day cricket this season,’ Morgan explained. ‘We want to eliminate those first innings batting and bowling trends that we developed last season.
‘It always meant that we were fighting back in games, but we have become a very difficult side to beat.
‘We know that we have a lot of hard work to do in red-ball cricket but it is exciting, we are definitely backing ourselves.’
Dolphins squad for Multiply Titans
Keshav Maharaj (captain)
Vaughn van Jaarsveld
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gameplan Media