Piedt: Cobras team is built around character
If the Cape Cobras regularly get off to a flyer and establish more first innings’ leads in four-day games, they will be difficult to stop, according to captain Dane Piedt.
The return of all-rounder Jason Smith also makes this team a better balanced unit for the Sunfoil Series clash against the Warriors at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth (starting on Thursday), said Piedt.
The tendency to play catch-up cricket has been a trait of the Cape Cobras, and it is something the team is addressing in order to get their noses in front early in four-day games. If they do produce an early lead, they will be a more rampant force.
Speaking about their dismissal for a lowly 159 against the VKB Knights and how the team transformed their fortunes with a gritty performance from day two, Piedt said the Cobras is “built around character.”
The team showed little character on the first day and the coach, Ashwell Prince, expressed his dissatisfaction and anger about their display. They responded almost immediately and stood up to the challenges.
The current bowling attack is a young and inexperienced one and they must just find a way to capture 20 wickets in every match.
Smith has definitely picked up pace in the off-season and he will ensure it is a better-balanced bowling unit.
Piedt said he thought Smith was a bit unlucky that he did not shave Wiaan Mulder for a position in the Proteas Test squad (against Bangladesh).
“He is a bit of a maverick,” Piedt said about Smith, while referring to Smith’s aggressive and fearless approach to batting. He said in this regard, Smith reminds one a bit of Quinton de Kock.
He was disappointed in his own batting performances for the SA A team, but the presence of Prince as coach and Faiek Davids as assistant coach will aid Smith in knuckling down and improving his shot selection at number five, the skipper remarked.
Piedt said the absence of Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell for the second match is almost a blessing in disguise because it forces the attack to be brutally honest about their own shortcomings and find a way to capture 20 wickets. “But we are moving in the right direction.”
Justin Ontong, who struck a magnificent 128 in the second innings in Bloemfontein, said the Cobras must learn as a batting unit.
“When we batted in the first innings, there were too many soft dismissals and at the wrong times,” he added.
Ontong said the collective reaction of the team will bolster their confidence ahead of the match against the Warriors.
Asked about his 128, one of the highlights of the Cape Cobras’ heroic counter-offensive, Ontong said he knew they needed to bat for two days to save the match.
“So I had to reel in my natural instincts, but it helped to have a master batting with me in Hashim Amla,” added Ontong.
At the practice at Newlands on Tuesday, quite a few senior players and the management team were excited about the performance by Kyle Verreynne, who mercilessly hooked and pulled Test fast bowler Duanne Olivier during his unbeaten 42 in Bloemfontein.
Piedt said one of the greatest characteristics of the new Cape Cobras’ culture, is that players are given the confidence to walk out and express themselves.
Cape Cobras squad: Dane Piedt (Captain) Dayyaan Galiem, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Tshepo Moreki, Justin Ontong, Dane Paterson, Andrew Puttick, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams
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