WP gearing up for T20 Knockout
WESTERN Province interim coach Faiek Davids says his team will be making “no excuses” as they are raring to go in the T20 Knockout tomorrow.
Province have traditionally been slow-starters to the Africa Cup, the predecessor to the T20 Knockout, primarily due to the fact that the weather in the Cape is not conducive to outdoor cricket prior to September unlike in the rest of South Africa.
Previously WP have been confined to the indoor nets at nearby Bishops, unable to stretch their legs ahead of the season-opening tournament. Davids, though, believes the preparation has gone much better this time around.
“It is a massive challenge, but we’ve adopted the attitude that when things are out of our hands, we must get on with the job. We’re not going to make any excuses. It’s not ideal but the mindset of the players is that it’s out of our hands,” Davids said.
“We’ve had a couple of warm-up matches against Boland at Newlands and in Paarl under our belt. It was also nice to feel the dry Kimberley outfield under our feet and not the soggy Newlands turf.
“We’ve got five days up here before the tournament, so we’ve been able to do some fielding out on the park. The guys look quite sharp. We’ve seen from past experiences that the guys still want to feel their way into the game, but that is definitely something that I will raise with the players that we need to hit the ground running especially in the first match.”
WP will be fielding a youthful squad in Kimberley after veterans Vernon Philander and Hashim Amla opted out of their respective contracts for various reasons, but Davids still has a solid core to call on from the likes of captain Wayne Parnell, Proteas wicket-keeper/batsman Kyle Verreynne, Beuran Hendricks, Zubayr Hamza, Nandre Burger, Aviwe Mgijima and Tony de Zorzi.
“Obviously not to have the experience of Vern and Hash is not ideal but there are now more opportunities for the younger players to step up and take their opportunities,” Davids said.
“I think we have a fantastic balance.
“We have a few younger guys who have now graduated so to speak. We have a lot of experience in the camp mixed with the newbies. I feel very confident with the squad.”
WP open their campaign against a strong Gauteng Lions side tomorrow before facing neighbours South Western Districts (Saturday) and hosts Northern Cape Heat (Sunday).