CAPE TOWN - Cape Cobras all-rounder George Linde is relishing the freedom coach Ashwell Prince is providing him when he walks out to bat in the T20 Challenge.
Linde, who is the left-arm spinner in the team, recently struck 52 not out off 30 balls coming in at the unusual position of No 3 against the Warriors to set up a sensational 10-run win and also featured prominently with his 2/26 in the victory over the Highveld Lions.
If you read through his personal archives, it will reveal that Linde was a standout performer for the Cobras during the 2014-15 T20 Challenge. He took 14 wickets at an average of 15.50, which resulted in the team winning the competition. But a fractured finger sidelined him for two months.
He also remodelled his bowling action after a spinning camp in India during the off-season.
Linde, undaunted by the setbacks, has shown his versatility by playing a key role as a pinch-hitter and also being steady as a left-arm spinner without much luck.
“The coach has told me to go out and play my batting game. Part of my approach is to be fearless, so I am mentally ready for the challenge,” Linde said.
When asked about his bowling, Linde said he adapts his pace and approach to conditions as well as the size of the field.
However, the 26-year-old believes none of his recent success would have been possible without the brilliant displays by Rory Kleinveldt with the new ball, which has led to overall improved bowling cohesion of the team.
Kleinveldt has definitely set the tone with his miserly, disciplined and accurate spells in the powerplay, with the rest of the bowlers following his example.
Since returning to the team against the Lions in Paarl a fortnight ago, the veteran has produced figures of 2/16, 3/19, and 1/16. He only bowled seven balls against the Dolphins for seven runs on Friday before the match was abandoned due to rain.
Linde has also benefited from sharing a change-room with world-class players such as captain JP Duminy and Proteas star Hashim Amla. According to Linde, they have all played inspirational roles by requesting the team to showcase their character and defiant spirit when the chips are down.
Amla has told the team that losses test your grit, and that when you strike back after defeats, good stories will be told about the team. These motivational talks have contributed to the team’s fightback.
“We have the momentum to our advantage and I feel we are in a good position to qualify (for the semi-finals). It is just a pity that the match against the Dolphins in Durban on Friday could not be completed, because we felt we were in a really strong position to clinch it,” Linde said.
“JP showed how classy he truly is as a top-order batsman by striking that 85 off 44 balls."
Duminy struck five sixes during his innings. Three of them came in the final over as Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo was targeted and conceded 25 runs.