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‘Quality signing’ for Dolphins as Vilas says goodbye to Cobras

Domestic Cricket

As the dust settles on a chaotic, at times confusing but, as ever, colourful campaign, Dolphins coach Grant Morgan and a special committee meeting will convene on Monday evening, to finalise the playing staff for the 2017/18 season.

The one name that has already been confirmed is that of Proteas keeper/batsman Dane Vilas, who will make the switch from the Cobras.

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Vilas brings a wealth of experience, big-game temperament, and a buzz to the middle-order.

“He is a quality signing, and I am sure he will add a lot of value to our squad,” Morgan enthused.

“I worked with him back when he was coming through the ranks in Gauteng, and I was the Strikers coach.

“He went up to the Lions side not long after, and then he has gone on to achieve great things,” Morgan added.

Vilas, who will be 32 by the time the season starts, has penned a two-year deal, and remains one of a clutch of keeper/glovemen nibbling at the heels of higher honours. When he had his chance, in India, he was up against it, with conditions that almost made a mockery of keeping and batting.

“He was very unlucky that he got his chance in India, where no one really made a contribution.

“He has a lot of quality, with the bat and with the gloves. He is also a quality runner between the wickets, and that energy will come in handy,” Morgan explained.

Of course, the Dolphins still have former skipper Morne van Wyk in their ranks, too, and both men are more than capable of playing as specialist batsmen should the need arise.

The Dolphins, as promising as they were at certain stages of the recently ended campaign, still looked one or two heads short of clarity when it really mattered.

They stumbled badly at the end of the Momentum One-Day Cup, having been in control of their destiny going into the last week of the round-robin stages.

Since then, it has emerged that paceman Craig Alexander and top-order batsman Divan van Wyk have been released by the franchise.

It is also understood that Keith Dudgeon, a 21-year-old who has been capped at youth international level, has also relocated to KZN from Gauteng, and may well be in line for a semi-pro contract.

Added to that, there are still several members who have contracts on the table, but they are in the midst of crunching the numbers.

Another familiar name in the Dolphins ranks may still be missed next season, as Proteas star David Miller has given no indication of leaving the Knights for a return to Durban.

Miller, though spending a lot of time on national duty, settled in well at the Knights, and played a role in their breakthrough, Sunfoil Series-winning run.

At Kingsmead, meanwhile, the season may be over, but the hard work is only just beginning in the background.

There are still lots of questions to be answered, and the outcome of tonight’s meeting will only be the beginning.

The make-up of that committee remains a bit of a mystery itself, given that there are still so many holes in the KZN boardroom.

Still, the seat of chief executive remains empty, nearly a year after Pete de Wet went to take up an opportunity in New Zealand. That lack of a figure-head has been felt around the stadium, and it is a matter that needs to be dealt with in the off-season.

But, first, a playing squad needs to be finalised, and then a review on yet another season of what could have been.

The Star

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