Young Dol­phins as in­juries hit hard

The Witness - Wheels - - SPORT - DAVID KNOWLES

MORNÉ van Wyk leads a young and dif­fer­ent look­ing Dol­phins squad into the Wan­der­ers bull­ring to­day for the four- day en­counter against the log- lead­ing Li­ons.

Hav­ing not reached the play- off of the re­cently com­pleted One Day Cup com­pe­ti­tion, the Li­ons will look to con­sol­i­date their 15,84- point ad­van­tage over the sec­ond- paced Ti­tans and are spoilt for choice when se­lect­ing their fi­nal eleven.

While the Dol­phins have high­lighted their depth this sea­son with a re­serve tank of tal­ented but largely un­blooded young­sters, they will start to­day’s match aware that the more se­nior play­ers in the ranks will have to en­sure the team stay in touch with pro­ceed­ings.

Reach­ing the One- Day Cup play- off has taken its toll on the coastal men. Protea all- rounder Ryan McLaren — scorer of two cen­turies in the four- day for­mat this sea­son — is out of ac­tion due to his re­cur­ring ham­string in­jury which forced him to pull up af­ter bowl­ing 3.5 overs in that play- off against the Ti­tans, and bat­ting stal­wart Vaughn van Jaarsveld is an­other not mak­ing the trip to his pre­vi­ous hunt­ing ground.

Cur­rently in a rich vein of form with the bat, Van Jaarsveld is said to have been struck down with pink eye, thus leav­ing a large hole in the bat­ting lineup.

Coach Lance Klusener, in an ef­fort to get 11 play­ers on the park, has called in for­mer SA U19 player Greg Old­field and Senu­ran Muthusamy to bol­ster the ranks.

“We are strug­gling but we should be able to find a team for the week­end,” said Klusener. “With six four- day games ahead over a six- week stretch, it’s a tough ask to keep the play­ers in shape and hope to call on the same lads ev­ery time.”

Fast man Craig Alexander is still re­cov­er­ing from his an­kle in­jury which kept him out of the play- off and the bowl­ing du­ties fall to Daryn Du­pavil­lon, Tshepo Moreki and KZN In­land stal­warts Gra­ham Hume and Matthew Pil­lans. Kee­shav Ma­haraj will of­fer a spin­ning op­tion, as will Daryn Smit, whose ex­pe­ri­ence could prove vi­tal as he holds the mid­dle or­der bat­ting to­gether hav­ing been in and out the team this sea­son.

“While we know that win­ning matches is what ul­ti­mately counts, our big­gest chal­lenge is to keep the boys fit,” said Klusener. “When this hap­pens, we have to ro­tate play­ers and this is where we are at now.”

On the other side of the coin, Li­ons skip­per Stephen Cook is spoilt for choice re­gard­ing se­lec­tion. “There is healthy com­pe­ti­tion for places and we can af­ford to se­lect cer­tain play­ers for cer­tain grounds and con­di­tions,” he said. “Our only doubt is whether Lon­wabo Tsot­sobe will be back af­ter an an­kle in­jury.”

What­ever tran­spires in the Li­ons camp, the Dol­phins are up against it be­fore a ball has been bowled. Im­raan Khan and Di­van van Wyk at the top of the or­der will have to en­sure a solid bat­ting plat­form for Van Wyk, Cody Chetty and Smit to build upon and the young bowl­ing attack will have to en­sure line and length is of im­pec­ca­ble qual­ity.

Per­haps their best plan of attack would be to bowl at the top of off- stump and in­duce mis­takes from the Li­ons bats­men.

Dol­phins Squad: Im­raan Khan, Di­van van Wyk, Daniel Sin­cuba, Cody Chetty, Morné van Wyk ( C), Tshepo Moreki, Daryn Smit, Gra­ham Hume, Matthew Pil­lans, Daryn Du­pavil­lon, Ke­shav Ma­haraj, Greg Old­field and Senu­ran Muthusamy.

LANCE KLUSENER

“We are strug­gling but we should be able to find a team for the week­end.”

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