‘Highly skilled’ Zubayr Hamza a nice fit for Lions - CEO Jonno Leaf-Wright

Zubayr Hamza in action for Western Province. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Zubayr Hamza in action for Western Province. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published Apr 5, 2023


Cape Town — Western Province’s loss is certainly the Central Gauteng Lions’ gain with both Zubayr Hamza and Tshepo Moreki swapping Newlands for the Wanderers next season.

The duo’s move up to Johannesburg is a massive blow to WP as they were both an integral part of Saliegh Nackerdien’s team. Hamza is, of course, a former WP captain that has played six Tests and single ODI for the Proteas, while Moreki has been one of the standout seamers the past couple of seasons.

The Lions are certainly overjoyed to have lured the duo from Cape Town, especially the experienced Hamza, who, ironically, struck a century against the Lions at the Wanderers in the penultimate Cricket SA 4-Day first-class match.

“Zubayr will add great value to our environment,” said Lions chief executive Jono-Leaf-Wright. “He is obviously a highly skilled batter, but he will also add value in terms of the calmness and leadership he will provide in our unit.”

Hamza’s arrival at the Wanderers is almost an entirely clean start for the stylish right-hander after he served a nine-month suspension last season after testing positive for a banned substance.

It was a life-changing experience for the 27-year-old who underwent some serious soul searching during this harrowing period.

Leaf-Wright believes that Hamza has certainly learnt his lesson and that he will be richer for the experience.

“Look, mistakes happen and as long as people learn from them, then I’m fine and feel they deserve another chance,” he said.

“Zubayr fits that, from everyone I’ve talked to, they all say he is a good guy and I think he will fit in nicely here into the environment and culture we are creating at the Lions.”

Moreki’s departure is an equally heavy blow to WP after the 29-year-old claimed 24 wickets in the first-class competition last season.

The wiry paceman appeared to have picked up an extra yard of pace over the past 12 months and was responsible for many crucial breakthroughs for Province.

The Lions have certainly moved quickly to cover for the expected Proteas call-ups for top-order batter Ryan Rickelton, who played the last Test of the summer and a couple of ODI’s, and the season’s revelation Sisanda Magala.

The all-rounder has become an integral part of the Proteas white-ball teams and is currently in India at the IPL as part of the Chennai Super Kings squad.


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