Healthy competition within Dolphins camp ahead of MODC second half

Cameron Delport is back in Durban after a brief stint for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League in Australia recently and is one of a host of returnees to the Sunfoil Dolphins squad set to resume the Momentum One Day Cup battle for the KwaZulu-Natal franchise this weekend.

The Dolphins currently command second position on the log and kick start the second half of the 50 over competition when they travel to Port Elizabeth on Friday 30 January for their clash against the Chevrolet Warriors at St George’s Park before squaring off against the Chevrolet Knights at the Pietermaritzburg Oval on Sunday 2 February.

Despite having options at his disposal after Imraan Khan scored back-to-back centuries in the Dolphins’ recent Sunfoil Series clashes, head coach Lance Klusener is glad to see the return of Delport.

The powerful left-handed opening batsman is set to return to the top of the order, together with captain and wicket-keeper/batsman Morné van Wyk who will return to his franchise once he completes his national duties with the Proteas on Wednesday.

“Current form definitely counts a lot when it comes to selection going forward and Imraan’s (Khan) form in the four-day game definitely sees him as part of our thoughts at the moment,” confirms Klusener.

“He was probably a bit unlucky to miss out in the first half of the One Day Cup competition but unfortunately I can only play eleven.

“Morné will however be back for us for the remainder of the competition and Cameron (Delport) is also back from Australia and both are right up there on the national averages and they’re the guys in possession at the moment so it’s a no-brainer for us to go back to them.

“It is good to have a guy like Immy (Khan) having made a stake recently and should anything happen to the openers then he becomes an option for us,” adds Klusener.

Delport’s Big Bash stint was a brief one however Klusener believes the young talent will be better for it.

“The most important thing about Cameron going to the Big Bash was for him to go see what it was all about, to see what it’s like to play in a different environment and just to get him out of Durban; to let him go see the world and hopefully that helps in his development as a player.”

While franchise newcomers Daniel Sincuba, Matthew Pillans and Graham Hume – amongst others – enjoyed a run for the Dolphins during the outfit’s recent four-day clashes, Klusener was quick to revert back to his tried and tested shortened format combo.

“T20 and 50 over cricket is a tough environment so we will look to stick with what’s worked for us in those formats so far. It’s easier to try have a look at a couple of guys in four day cricket but there is nowhere to hide in one day cricket!” explains Klusener.

“Rob (Frylinck) was given a bit of time off at the back end of our run of four-day games. We had Craig (Alexander) who was injured a bit so we didn’t want to go flog Rob on a flat wicket in Kimberley. Both he and Craig are available for us again which is obviously good news for us.

“Khaya (Zondo) is the only one unavailable for us – other than our guys involved in the national squad, of course – as he is away with the SA ‘A’ side.”

Despite the added pressure that comes with being placed towards the top of the table, Klusener believes the weekend’s double header provides the Sunfoil Dolphins with a golden opportunity to cement their position and aid in their quest to reach the competition’s final greatly.

“Sitting second on the log does come with a bit of added pressure but that’s why we as cricketers get out of bed every morning.

“We missed an opportunity in the Ram Slam T20 but we’re handily placed in the four-day and 50 over competitions so the pressure is a good thing.

“This weekend’s games are an opportunity for us; if we can get back into Momentum One Day Cup mode sooner than the rest then that would be great. There is a lot to play for, we just need to get the mix right early on,” says Klusener.

Sunfoil Dolphins squad: Morne van Wyk, Cameron Delport, Kyle Nipper, Cody Chetty, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Jonathan Vandiar, Andile Phehlukwayo, Robbie Frylinck, Keshav Maharaj, Daryn Dupavillon, Craig Alexander, Tshepo Moreki and Daryn Smit