Dolphins in bid for Fortune
Province need to act quickly
PROMISING youth cricketer Chad Fortune, who will captain the Western Province Under-18 team at Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week beginning in Bloemfontein next Friday, could be lost to Western Province cricket if they don’t act soon and offer him more than just a “be patient” deal.
The speed merchant and promising all-rounder has already been in talks with the Dolphins.
The KwaZulu-Natal team flew him to Durban a couple of weeks ago for a trial session where he caught the eye of head coach Graham Ford, who is keen to secure his services.
While nothing is cast in stone yet, bank on the Durban franchise pursuing the services of Fortune after already securing the signature of his provincial teammate Brendan Young, who will be joining their academy in 2011.
Fortune, for obvious reasons, wasn’t too keen on talking about his future plans, but this is a young man who harbours ambitions of playing the game for a living.
His genuine pace with the new ball has intimidated batters, his aggressive batting swung many a match and his excellent fielding makes him a bright contender to one day literally make a fortune out of the game in the shorter formats, if not the longer version.
That is the view of his Wynberg High first team coach Eric Lefson.
“It depends on Chad himself,” said Lefson. “If he works on his disciplines both on and off the field, I have no doubt that he has a huge future.
“This is a young man who has tons of natural ability. He is a fine bowler by virtue of his pace and movement, and an explosive batsman in the middle-order. He has won selection to the SA under-19 team, that’s just the beginning for him.”
The WP Coke team, rated by WP amateur head of coaching Paul Philipson as one of the finest sides assembled in recent years, certainly need an improvement in form in the lead-up to the national tournament after the majority of the team had been in the under-19 team that has lost three of its four warm-up games.
A worrying tendency in these defeats (two to Boland) has been the lack of application shown by the batsmen in the three-day games.
While play at Coke Week will be restricted to one-day games, the chance for the faltering top-order to find form has been squandered through poor shot selection and aptitude.
But under-18 coach Wayne Myers isn’t too concerned.
“I prefer it if my team can be judged on their form at Coke Week. I have full faith in my players hitting form in Bloemfontein.
“The team assembled is a wellbalanced one; we have fine batsmen in the whole top-order backed up by a sharp, talented pace attack and a few quality spinners who could come to the fore on the flat wickets anticipated.”
Players who could force their way into the SA schools team are Fortune and Young, James Crowson, Grant Edmeades and Daiyaan Garder.
Young will share the new ball with Fortune, his height and ferocious competitive edge sure to have opposing batsmen on their knees with his penchant for the short stuff.
Crowson has been a star performer for Bishops over the past couple of years, his stylish, attacking batting (at No 4), and slow right-arm off spinner sure to be a key factor in deter mining Province’s fortunes.
Edmeades gets a second crack to impress the national selectors. Last year he performed with distinction, scoring two fifties and could consider himself a trifle unlucky not to have cracked the nod.
Garder is an unorthodox rightarm leg-spinner with bundles of talent who, should he decrease his delivery stride, according to school coach Lefson, is likely to gain more accuracy as he would get over the ball more once released.
“I’m pretty chuffed with the make-up of our team,” said Fortune. “The more we’ve played together, the more we’ve grown.
“Results have been below-par, but I believe we will come into our own when it matters most… at Coke Week.
“We have worked hard on all aspects of our game in recent weeks and things are falling into place.
“I am getting to know the boys better and what they are capable of. Our side is a well-balanced one; our opening attack with the ball can cause opposing teams big problems and our batsmen are talented in their own right.”
WP begin their programme with two games (120 overs) against Northerns and Griqualand West.
Following that will be two 50over games against Free State and Easter ns before the organisers decide which teams play each other in a strength versus strength format in the final two Twenty20 games.
WANTED: Wynberg High’s Chad Fortune had a successful trial with the Dolphins who are keen to sign the all-rounder.
GONE: Ashish Nehra celebrates another NZ wicket.