Abbott cherishing responsibility role
Fast bowler Kyle Abbott is confident he is now ready to step up to the fore and lead the Sunfoil Dolphins’ attack this season after two years of nurturing.
The 25-year-old is busy preparing for his third full season on the South African circuit, with his initial two yielding 20 and 33 wickets respectively.
In his first year, he often shared the new ball with the relatively experienced Quinton Friend, while last season those duties were split with veteran former Proteas seamer Friedel de Wet.
In 2012/13, new signing Craig Alexander is the man touted to open the bowling for the Dolphins alongside Abbott, who admits the prospect of leading the line is really exciting him.
“It’s a good thing (to take the new ball) because you always want to be at the top of the pecking order,” he told supersport.com. “To lead an attack is something only a few people get to do.
“You’re proud to know that you’re taking the new ball for your province.”
The Empangeni-born paceman is also relishing the prospect of the added responsibility.
He said: “It’s my third full season now, so obviously the responsibility is there moving up as a senior player.
“We’ve got quite a young side here, so three years experience is a lot no matter how old you are.
“I set myself high standards and will obviously look to maintain those through the season and just improve on the last three years.”
Abbott, who has taken 85 wickets in 27 first-class games, has set his sights on more wickets this season.
“We would be going around in circles if we didn’t have targets and goals,” he said. “I think mine are anything over 30 wickets, hopefully pushing closer to 40, which will be good.
“Obviously the more wickets I take the better team is going to do and I want to take as many as possible.”
And the Dolphins will be heavily-reliant on his success as they aim to put behind them a wretched few years in four day cricket.
Last year they won just once all season and Abbott admits they have been working hard to change a losing mentality into a winning one under new coach Lance Klusener.
“Mentality is a key word and with Zulu coming in now, he has changed that,” he added.
“We’ve grafted extremely hard in the off-season trying to create match situations becoming mentally tougher and it’s going to take one or two actual games, especially if we win them, to get that feeling back.
“It’s a small mindset change and I think it’s going to show.
“As for Zulu, he’s made a huge difference, especially for me. I think you’ll see with me that I’m no more that gentle fast bowler, there’s a few tricks up my sleeve this season.”