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'Madala' Davids the Titans' heart and soul

Domestic Cricket
JOHANNESBURG - At the age of 37, 16 years after making his professional debut, it all finally clicked for Henry Davids in the 2016/17 Momentum One Day Cup.

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Henry Davids celebrates his century in Friday's final. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Gone were the flashy scores in the 30s. Gone were the thrilling innings’ in the 60s. In their stead this season we’ve seen three centuries, and him combining in five century opening partnerships, three of which topped 200, with one of those a first wicket stand of 313 against the Cape Cobras when Davids made 163.

He’s 37 and really should be dialling it down. “You can call him old, he nearly lost two hamstrings in the space of two weeks, he’s a madala,” laughed Titans coach Mark Boucher after his side’s 236-run triumph over the Warriors in the Momentum Cup final, which featured another hundred from Davids bat.

“I’ve heard it a lot this week from the other guys, that I’m like good red wine, getting better with age, I like that,” said Davids.

Friday night encapsulated this season’s one-day competition perfectly as far as Davids and the Titans were concerned. There was him scoring runs, sharing a big opening partnership and the Titans finishing with a, err, titanic total – the third time they had breached the 400-run mark this season.

“I’ve given myself a few overs this season, to get in and then play from there. In the past I tried to play big shots very early on, this year I stopped that,” said Davids.

“Once I had a feel of the wicket it became easier for me to play shots. It was a case of balancing it out and it’s worked out.

“It’s been awesome. In the past I got slashing 60s, quick 30s and got out, this year there was one innings in the 30s, I’ve been converting the scores, which has been pleasing.”

He’s finished as competition’s top run-scorer with 673 runs, including three centuries and three half-centuries from just eight innings. Friday night’s knock of 114 nearly didn’t happen as a result of injuries to both hamstrings, which had kept him out of the Titans’ last two league matches.

“Luckily we had 10 days, the backroom staff, Sizwe (Hadebe, the Titans doctor), jissis, they did their utmost to get me on the park again,” Davids added.

“I was in oxygen chambers, to get me out there, but it worked, I’m just very grateful for what the guys did for me over the last couple of days. To play today was just awesome.”

For Boucher, Davids’ determination to play in the final spoke volumes for the culture at the Titans.

“He’s been a match winner for us. He’s been working so hard on his fitness, sitting in oxygen chambers, for eight hours a day just to try and get his body ready for this game. The guy’s heart and soul is in Titans cricket.”

Friday’s win was the eighth winner’s medal Davids has picked up since joining the franchise from the Cape Cobras in 2010.

Independent Media

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