Dolphins looking to shed underachievers tag
The Sunfoil Dolphins are slowly but surely starting to shed their tag as underachievers after a superb four-day campaign and the men from Durban will be eager to carry their impressive form into the T20 Franchise Cup which starts on Friday.
The Dolphins finished third in the Sunfoil Series after winning four matches, an impressive improvement from a team which had won just one four-day game since January 2011, and there were signs that the KwaZulu-Natal franchise were starting to find their feet under the tutelage of Lance Klusener in his first full season as coach.
However, Klusener is well aware that good four-day form, despite the positives of winning on a regular basis, does not necessarily translate into good T20 form.
“It is hard to say how much you can actually take out of the longer version of the game into the shortest format but we are going to try. We sat the other day and had a good chat about where we are and where we have been in the last six weeks and how we can carry that on but it is quite tough because it is very different,” Klusener told supersport.com on Tuesday at a Dolphins’ net session in Durban.
“It’s a tough one because you kind of lose a couple of players along the way just because of the nature of the game but we will take quite a bit. We have got some good momentum, we have got some good ideas going around and the excitement of a new competition is something that we are all looking forward to,” he added.
Former Protea all-rounder Klusener was in charge of the Dolphins during their last domestic T20 campaign. The men from Durban suffered terribly at the hands of the weather gods as five of their games ended in no-results but they still managed to end fourth.
One aspect of the Dolphins’ play during their truncated campaign was their aggressive approach with the bat and ball at the start of each innings. Klusener said that there would a few tweaks to his team’s approach but that he wanted to continue with an aggressive mindset.
“We will add a few things and play a bit different to how we did last year. If you want to achieve different results you have to do different stuff.
“We want to set ourselves up, even in T20 cricket, to bowl teams out. If we can have that mindset, of not just pitching up and bowling 20 overs and chasing a score, we can put teams under pressure and try and bowl them out. We need to back that up with good fielding but it’s only an hour-and-a-half in the field so it’s not asking too much from the players to be energetic and put their bodies on the line. It is a big focus for us with the ball and fielding as well,” he explained.
The Dolphins boast a potentially explosive batting line-up with Jonathan Vandier, Cameron Delport, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Kaya Zondo, Cody Chetty and David Miller all in the mix while the bowling attack will be led by paceman Kyle Abbott.
Fit-again all-rounder Robbie Frylinck, left-arm seamer Mthokozisi Shezi and speedster Craig Alexander will back Abbott up while off-spinner Prenelan Subrayen and left-armer Keshav Maharaj will provide the slow bowling options.
One player who will not be available for the Dolphins opening fixture, against the Nashua Titans in Durban on Friday, will be England all-rounder Ravi Bopara who is still busy with his commitments in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Not surprisingly, Klusener is looking forward to the Dolphins’ overseas signing’s arrival.
“He (Bopara) is the ultimate professional really. He practices hard, he plays hard and he is excellent in the change-room. We are going to look to all those aspects and when he leaves here hope that he leaves an impression on the youngsters as well as on the field,” he said.