Vilas in line for Dolphins debut v Lions


Having drawn both of their opening Sunfoil Series fixtures so far in the campaign, the Dolphins will be bolstered by the arrival of new signing Dane Vilas for their upcoming Sunfoil Series clash with the Highveld Lions from 6 to 9 October at the Pietermaritzburg Oval.

The talented wicketkeeper/batsman has joined the Dolphins following a successful season with English country side Lancashire where he helped his team finish the County Championship in second place behind Essex.

It was not only a strong season from the former Cape Cobras star from a team perspective, he also registered his highest individual first-class score when he notched up brilliant 244 against Hampshire.

The elements hampered the Dolphins’ charge last week when they were on top of the defending four-day competition champions the Knights at Kingsmead.

“We won the two bonus point battles against the defending champions last week which was very encouraging,” coach Grant Morgan commented.

“The Lions are going to be a tough challenge with a leader like Stephen Cook, who lives and breathes Johannesburg and the Lions, and a strong all-round side that is talented across the board from their bowlers to their batters.

“They bat very deep, and it looks like young (Wiaan) Mulder is the final piece of their puzzle.

“With all of their bowling and batting options they become a really tough side to beat so it going to be another scrap and we know that we have to work exceedingly hard to beat them.”

Despite every match so far in the Sunfoil Series ending in draws, Morgan believes that it is important that each and every ground in the country maintains its inherent character.

“People have been a bit scathing of the first two weeks of this competition. People want each game to go to the final over of the fourth day!

“I think the draws that we have seen are a reflection on some good cricket that has been played.

“We want to grounds to remain unique and we know that if Maritzburg maintains its unique aspects it will deteriorate as the game goes on.

“There will be a slight variability in bounce and turn and that is what Maritzburg can become if we play four days of cricket on it,” he added.

Vilas’ return is a timely one for the Dolphins as they lose SJ Erwee this weekend as he travels overseas for personal commitments and there is an injury cloud over last match’s centurion Cody Chetty.

The 32 year-old Vilas is no stranger to conditions in KwaZulu-Natal and is looking forward to representing the Dolphins.

“I do know what to expect and I have done quite well in KZN in the past so I feel that there is nothing to be concerned about going into this weekend,” Vilas commented.

“There is always a bit of added pressure for a new player coming into a new side wanting to perform and get some big runs under the belt and contribute to the team as early as possible.

“I used to give some of the guys here quite a bit of stick behind the stumps so they will be giving me a bit back, but they making it so easy for me,” he added.

The Dolphins currently sit in second place on the Sunfoil Series log behind the Knights.

The match will start at 09:00 on Friday 6 October with free entrance for spectators to the Pietermaritzburg Oval.

Cody Chetty, Rob Frylinck, Sibonelo Makhanya, Athi Maposa, Kerwin Mungroo, Senuran Muthusamy, Calvin Savage, Mthokozisi Shezi, Prenelan Subrayen, Vaughn Van Jaarsveld, Morne Van Wyk, Dane Vilas, Khaya Zondo (c).