Cape Town - Cape Cobras coach Paul Adams was forced to name his third skipper for the season on Tuesday when Justin Ontong was belatedly called up to the Proteas T20 squad for the three-match series against New Zealand.
Dane Vilas will lead the Cobras against the Titans at Newlands on Thursday in the absence of Ontong.
Rory Kleinveldt, who had previously led the Cobras this season when Ontong was on national duty, is also part of the Proteas T20 squad.
Ontong, who captained the SA A side on Tuesday, has replaced AB de Villiers, who is taking a break due to fatigue.
Ontong was originally set to fly back to Cape Town on Wednesday to be in time for Thursday’s Sunfoil Series clash along with Vilas and Stiaan van Zyl. However, the latter duo will now form the core of a re-jigged line-up from the team that shared the 1-Day Cup trophy with the Highveld Lions over the weekend.
Alistair Gray is expected to return to top of the batting line-up after missing the last couple of one-day games, while left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks is another who could be back in the reckoning due to Kleinveldt and Dale Steyn’s enforced absence.
Spinner Dane Piedt could also get a run after a frustrating one-day campaign where he was largely on the sidelines.
The major fillip for Adams, though, is the availability of Proteas star Vernon Philander for this game.
Philander showed in the 1-Day Cup final he was hungry for action, and will look to fine-tune his game with an impressive performance ahead of the Test series against the Black Caps.