Marais knows his role and is excelling
It is a fact that the latter was still playing semi-pro cricket a few years ago while working on the family farm in Stutterheim. But that’s not the culture of the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, and it certainly seems to be paying dividends with the Eastern Cape side topping the Mzansi Super League table.
Marais has certainly not stood back with the galaxy of stars that surround him in the Giants changing-room, and the 26-year-old has indeed relished the opportunity. He was particularly good against the Cape Town Blitz last week when blasted 40 not out off just 26 balls. Marais believes he is able to execute his plans due to the Giants' support staff having clearly defined his role.
“Yes, it can be difficult to adapt as you play back-to-back matches against different teams, but the one thing that makes it easier is role definition,” Marais said.
“This is the tournament where you really want to do well and show the world what you can do. Our roles were defined before the tournament started and each player knows what he has to do. When we practise, we practise for situations you would be faced with come game day.”
He is likely to be granted further opportunities to shine due to Farhaan Behardien’s injury-enforced withdrawal. Behardien was undoubtedly set up to feature prominently in the Giants’ plans, but will play no further part.
Marais will, though, have to contend with the arrival of Netherlands all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate, who has been flown in as Behardien’s replacement.
“When we lost Farhaan we obviously lost a specific talent and we thus needed to find someone who could bring that to the game,” Giants coach Eric Simons said.
“We needed someone who can access the boundaries and perform much like the way we’ve seen with Heino Kuhn. Ryan brings with him significant experience, calmness and he’s a leader.”
But instead being over-awed by even more competitive for a place in the starting XI, Marais is just looking to continue his learning from the experienced players.
“Even though Farhaan got injured he still sends us messages. It just helps to be able to fall back on their knowledge - batting with them and spending time with them off the field,” he said.
The Giants host the Paarl Rocks at St George’s Park this evening.