A miserable first round of the Sunfoil Series came to an end last week, and now Paul Adams and his team can look forward to kick-starting their season when they face the Knights in a Wanderers double-header on Saturday (1.30pm). The second game sees the Lions face the Titans at 6pm.
The Cobras battled with the bat and ball in the four-day competition, lacking the patience with the willow and unable to strike big blows against opposition line-ups.
But that is set to change in the T20 Challenge, with Richard Levi and Rory Kleinveldt back in the Cobras side. The former Proteas pair come off a highly successful stint with Northamptonshire in England, where they were part of the journey to the local T20 title, Kleinveldt hit the winning runs in the final against Durham at Edgbaston in August.
“They won the T20 Blast at Northants, so very exciting to have them back. Both offer a lot of experience, Richard especially at the top of the order. When he gets going, he is really inspirational to watch, and hopefully he can inspire a lot of young cricketers within our set-up,” Adams said after practice at Newlands on Thursday.
“And Ror, to bring calmness to the bowling attack. He’s got Dane Paterson next to him, and we’ve got Beuran (Hendricks) around and young (Tshepo) Moreki. So, on the seaming front there are a lot of options, and it’s important that Ror brings all that experience and calmness in the pressure situations.”
Parnell hurt his ribs while fielding for the Proteas in the second ODI against Australia at the Wanderers in early October, which has kept him out of action since. It was hoped that he would be ready for Saturday, but he still has some work to do, which makes the availability of West Indian master blaster Kieron Pollard even more important as an all-rounder.
“Wayne Parnell has been working on his fitness this past week, so we will continue with that. Hopefully by the end of next week, we’ll see how he goes. He was our T20 player of the year last season, and we unearthed him there at the top, where he played some explosive innings and contributed at the back-end with the ball,” Adams said.
“Jason Smith has been having a good season as an all-rounder, and it’s important to have options for the captain. Getting Kieron Pollard is a big plus for us, and what he brings to the team is something special. He is here for the full tournament.
“Kieron is a true professional and offers a lot off the field. And on it, when the pressure is on, he will look to absorb it and take it on, and win the game for the team. He is an out-and-out team man – we saw that in his last game for us when he walked out to smash the winning runs despite hobbling. That tells you what type of man he is.”
Original source: Parnell still out, but Kleinveldt can calm Cobras down