As the Hollywoodbets Dolphins embark on a tricky week of away fixtures in the CSA T20 Challenge, the squad has been bolstered by the timely arrival of their 2015 star and former England batsman Kevin Pietersen who will play in their fixture against the Multiply Titans in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
Pietersen will play in only one match for the Dolphins before he jets off to Australia to complete his commentary duties at the final test of the Standard Bank Proteas series against Australia before re-joining the Durban-based franchise for their final four round robin fixtures.
The Proteas did the Dolphins a favour when they tore apart the Australians in four days allowing Pietersen the opportunity to jet into Durban a day earlier and despite this the former Maritzburg College pupil has slotted back into the mix with ease.
“It’s great to be involved again, you go away for nine or ten months and come back and jump right into it like you were here just the other day and that is a sign of feeling comfortable,” the 36 year-old star mentioned.
With a repeat of the 2015 final on the cards at the Mangaung Oval this Sunday, the Dolphins will hope that Pietersen can contribute like he did last season when he managed to rack up an impressive 401 runs in seven innings which included two centuries and two fifties.
“Seeing how my feet are moving in the nets is the best gauge as to how I am feeling and surprisingly my feet felt really good yesterday and today!
“I have so much cricket coming up so I would much rather be playing cricket in South Africa than playing golf in Melbourne or Adelaide,” he added.
With four away games in a row the coach, Grant Morgan has selected a 14-man group that will travel to Bloemfontein before Pietersen leaves and that thirteen man squad will travel to Cape Town, back to Bloemfontein and then Johannesburg.
The Dolphins have gained a bit of momentum heading into their away leg of the competition and Morgan knew that that the team was in line for a good performance, especially after the side fell short against the Warriors last week.
“We had a really big meeting on Tuesday with the top six batters. We had to just fine-tune some things and walk the guys through the plan that we wanted to execute,” the astute coach explained.
“I think we have got the whole batting unit aligned now and they are in a position where the can play responsibly but also without fear.”
Pietersen’s influence last season was immense and his runs helped propel the side into the final and Morgan’s view is that despite his obvious benefit to the Dolphins he will also have an effect on the opposition.
“To have a player with his aura in your change room is huge for the other eleven or thirteen players but the pressure that a player like that can transfer from your set-up onto the opposition is also immense,” Morgan remarked.
The Hollywoodbets Dolphins take on the Multiply Titans in the first match of the double header at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Sunday. The match starts at 10:00.
The side then travels to Cape Town to take on the BuildNat Cape Cobras on Wednesday, 23 November followed by a return to Bloemfontein to play the VKB Knights on Friday, 25 November and then to Johannesburg to take on the bizhub Highveld Lions on Sunday, 27 November.
HOLLYWOODBETS DOLPHINS SQUAD:
Morné van Wyk (captain), Craig Alexander, Cody Chetty, Cameron Delport, Rabian Engelbrecht, Robbie Frylinck, Mbasa Gqadushe, Kyle Nipper, Kevin Pietersen, Prenelan Subrayen, Mthokozisi Shezi, Imran Tahir, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo