Dol­phins in bid for For­tune

Prov­ince need to act quickly

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

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.

GALLO IM­AGES

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.

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