Can Lions roar in One Day Cup?
The Bizhub Highveld Lions will be looking to build on their impressive run to the final of the Champions League T20 when they embark on their adventure in the Momentum One Day Cup.
Their enigmatic coach, Geoffrey Toyana, has instilled an emphatic sense of self belief within the squad. The Lions have endured several seasons of largely disappointing results, succeeding briefly in one format but then failing in the others.
Toyana believes that inconsistency can be eradicated. “We want to be competitive in all the competitions that we play in, we've spoken about this in the squad. We had a fantastic run in the Champions League T20 and we want to continue with it,” Toyana told supersport.com.
"In the past we have done well in one competition but not in others. We have a lot of experienced guys in the squad, guys like Neil McKenzie, Zander de Bruyn and Jean Symes, who has really grown a lot. We really want to gel as a side and prosper," Toyana said.
"Quinton de Kock is always going to be a threat in our domestic competition, and our dark horse is Temba Bavuma! He was in our squad in the T20 but didn't get an opportunity, and he is hungry to get some competition."
"Our youth and experience are really gelling well together, so the future looks bright."
"Phangy (Aaron Phangiso) has been spoken about a lot lately, he really is a dynamic cricketer. He has done well over the last three seasons and had a fantastic T20. He is our 'banker'. He is so underrated. He knows how to bowl in
one-day cricket, I mean, in the last three seasons he's gone for around four runs to the over."
"We don't want to put pressure on him, with regards to national call-ups etc, we just want to keep it simple for him,” Toyana said.
The rule changes for this season have been a big focus for most of the coaches, including Toyana, "It's becoming a batsman’s game, all the bowlers are complaining a bit, but it will be interesting, the side that adapts the quickest will be the side that has the edge."
"It's going to be hard for the bowlers, but it is a learning curve for all the franchises. The bowlers, in terms of their skills, will have to be spot on. And the batsmen too, we need to find guys who can play the sweeps as most teams will probably have the cover (fielder) up. We've trained for a few things and we will just have to adapt quickly."
The Lions have won the limited overs competition six times since its inception back in the 1981-82 season, but have not held the trophy aloft since 2003/2004. Toyana and his players will want to change that and convert the momentum from the CLT20 into a good run in the One Day Cup.