CAPE TOWN – After a few lean years both on and off the field down at Newlands, the Cape Cobras are looking forward to the new 2018-19 season with fresh optimism on both fronts.
Major title sponsors World Sports Betting remain committed to the Western Cape franchise, but are now also joined by associate sponsors S Balan Group - a construction and real estate company based in Pune, India – antiperspirant deodorant Mitchum and car dealership VW Barons in the Cobras family.
Considering the current flux Cricket South Africa finds itself in relating to its sponsors with leading backers Sunfoil severing ties with CSA recently and potentially a few more to follow, it is a considerable coup for Cobras chief executive Nabeal Dien and his team to ensure the sustainability of the franchise in the current financial climate.
“But now it’s up to us as a team, players and coach, to do the business out in the middle. We have prepared nicely. The guys are itching to get out there because it’s been a long winter in the indoor nets.”
The Cobras have certainly plenty to look forward to this season. The team, under the new leadership core of Prince, co-captains Dane Piedt (first-class cricket) and JP Duminy (limited-overs cricket), brought a sense of pride back to playing for the Cobras with the blooding of a group of talented youngsters last season.
ASSOCIATE SPONSOR ANNOUNCEMENT | We are excited to announce our new associate sponsor of the @WorldSportsBet Cape Cobras, The Balan Group from India. Here's to a long and successful partnership pic.twitter.com/98AkZnd0Dv
Although no trophies were collected, there was a vast improvement in terms of performance with wicket-keeper/batsman Kyle Verreynne, seam bowler Mthiwekhaya Nabe, batsmen Zubayr Hamza and Pieter Malan all rewarded with individual accolades and even call-ups to the South Africa ‘A’ side for tours to India during the winter.
All these young players have matured from rookies into serious first-class campaigners now, and coupled with the return from injury of the experienced Wayne Parnell, who is enjoying a superb return to form in the English County Championship for Worcestershire at present, Prince is eager for the season to get underway on October 1 against the Knights at Newlands.
“It is harder to win with young players because they don’t have the experience of those crunch moments, but now that they have had a taste of it they will be better prepared for it this time around.
“If you are talking about goals for the season, then we made two semi-finals last season, so the next step would be a final, and of course once you get there you obviously want to win it. I think the season is shaping up nicely, Parnell is definitely a boost for us, and if he can stay fit for the majority of the season, having a high-quality left-armer in your ranks is always a boost,” Prince said.
Cape Town club cricketers have plenty to look forward this season with its own version of the Lenasia Premier League and Dolphins Premier League set to get underway. The Cape Premier League – a T20 tournament comprising six teams – will be played in April, after the 2018-19 WPCA club season.