CAPE TOWN - Independent Media cricket writer Zaahier Adams believes the Cape Cobras can turn around their RAM Slam T20 Challenge season if they take these five measures.
Give Dane Paterson a break
This is a tough call, particularly because Paterson has a reputation as one of the leading death bowlers in South Africa. He also recently played for the Proteas in the T20 format. Unfortunately, though, the 28-year-old seam bowler is running on an empty tank.
It has been a long year for Paterson. Since making his international debut at the beginning of the year, it has been non-stop for the Northpine resident. Tours to New Zealand and England with the Proteas, with an arduous SA A tour sandwiched between plus an incoming A series that followed during the winter, has taken its toll on Paterson. While this is undoubtedly the business part of the summer for the Cobras, a week off may just be what “Patto” requires right now.
Get Charl Langeveldt back
For all Paul Adams’ eventual problems at the end of his coaching tenure at Newlands, the one aspect the former Proteas spin bowler cannot be faulted for was his desire to seek assistance when required. Adams regularly called in consultants to assist the team and provided platforms for Charl Langeveldt and Ashwell Prince to begin their coaching careers. Langeveldt, of course, helped the bowlers and quickly graduated to the Proteas bowling coach role.
Prince is now the Cobras coach, having succeeded Adams. Langeveldt had a significant impact, most memorably in the 2014-15 season when he guided a young and inexperienced bowling attack to the T20 Challenge title. Langeveldt’s services are available again now that new Proteas coach Ottis Gibson has released him from the national set-up. The sooner “Langes” gets to work with the likes of Wayne Parnell and others, the better
Find a “kop dokter” for Jason Smith
The former Wynberg Boys High prodigy is one of the most talented young cricketers in SA. Yet, for some reason, Smith is not fulfilling his promise, and has seen his counterparts like Lions rookie Wiaan Mulder and Dolphins starlet Andile Phehlukwayo graduate into the Proteas team in recent months.
The fact that he is an all-rounder is a major asset, especially in limited-overs cricket. However, Smith just looks all at sea at the moment and faces a stern examination of his credentials over the coming months. Everyone at the Cobras backs him, particularly his coach Prince and captains JP Duminy and Dane Piedt. A couple of sessions “on the couch” and not just hitting balls in the nets could possibly unlock the obvious talent hidden in that athletic frame of his.
Get Qaasim Adams up the order
The Cobras have opted to pick a makeshift wicket-keeper in Adams ahead of the youthful gloveman Kyle Verreynne. The idea in principle is a good one, because Adams offers the Cobras potentially greater firepower than Verrynne at this stage.
However, if the plan is to be given the best chance of being successful Adams needs to get to the wicket earlier than he does. In the first two matches, he did not face a single ball. Admittedly, even though still coming in at No 7, Adams had a golden opportunity against his former team, the Titans at SuperSport Park on Sunday, only to fall to an outstanding catch by Tabraiz Shamsi in the deep.
Bring back the “Fresh Prince”
George Linde deserves an opportunity in the Cobras T20 team after being one of the standout bowlers in the successful 2014-15 campaign. He is good young left-arm spinner who is not afraid to toss the ball in the air in order to gain maximum purchase off the pitch. However, over the course of the past three matches, Linde has not done anything to warrant being picked as the sole specialist spinner ahead of four-day captain Dane Piedt.
Any T20 team would ideally like the ball spinning away from the right-hander, which Linde does in the absence of a leg spinner, but Piedt is needed for more than just his off-spinners right now. Duminy may be the T20 captain, but Piedt’s natural charisma and vibrancy is vital and he will add a great deal more to the team. Piedt and Linde could even play in tandem at the coastal venues in the Cobras’ next couple of games.