Cobras keep rolling with the punches

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Injury after injury has placed a severe strain on his player resources, while he has also had to manage a squad which has had a couple of senior players struggling for form. Tough decision-making was required in addition to some innovative thinking with regards to game plans.

One of them was, of course, the promotion of Wayne Parnell to open the batting last Sunday against the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers. It proved to be a resounding success with Parnell smashing a career-best 99 off just 57 balls that kept the Cobras firmly on track for a home playoff spot.

“Yeah, it’s been a tough season hey,” Adams said. “We’ve been forced to roll with the punches. We’ve been hit with a couple of freak injuries. I mean look at Richie’s (Levi) on Sunday. Hit on the head while fielding! It has just been that type of season.”

Levi was admitted to hospital but has since returned home, fortunately without any major harm. The blockbusting opener will, though, miss tonight’s crucial clash against the Warriors in East London but could be available again on Friday when the Cobras travel to Durban for their final round-robin match against the Dolphins.

“Richard did consult a neurologist in Johannesburg and he has been assessed. It is a mild concussion. There will be another assessment on Wednesday and we hope he will be ready for the trip to Kingsmead. There is a good chance he will be ready,” Adams said.

Cobras captain Justin Ontong, who struck Levi with the ball after a throw from the cover boundary, said Levi will return stronger than ever, even when the opposition’s fast bowlers likely target him with bouncers.

“He is a strong character and I don’t think the injury will affect him when he is in front of the stumps with his helmet on,” Ontong said. “I am sure he will be tested with the short ball.

“I have been hit against the head and I was tested, and the opposition will target him as a man to dismiss cheaply and they will use it. But he will expect it and prepare himself mentally for that (barrage).”

Adams has resisted the temptation of adding another batsman to the squad for the double round of fixtures this week with Parnell set to remain in the opener’s berth in the interim. He has, however, beefed with up his attack with the inclusion of fit-again seamer Dane Paterson. Last year’s Player of the Year missed the clash at the Bullring with a back spasm, but seems to have recovered from the injury. Adams, though, is unlikely to rush him back into action and could keep the right-armer on ice until Friday.

“We gained good momentum from the victory over the Lions and we want to continue on that path. Dane is fit again which is a massive boost for us as he is one the best death-bowlers around,” the coach added.

“He will train with us in preparation for Friday, but we know the importance of Wednesday’s match and we’re not looking too far ahead.

“Maintaining the winning momentum is key for us at this stage of the competition.” - Cape Times

Original source: Cobras keep rolling with the punches

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