JOHANNESBURG – The gentler more nuanced demands of the 50-over format could prove more suitable to the Highveld Lions as they embark on their campaign in the One-Day Cup against the Warriors at the Wanderers today.
At least that’s what they’re hoping.
The T20 Challenge didn’t go according to plan, but Stephen Cook, who played no part in that competition and will captain the Lions in the One-Day Cup, feels his team will be better suited to the longer of the limited-overs formats.
“Our aggression can be a bit more controlled and tempered across 50 overs rather than just wham-bam,” said Cook.
“What let us down in the T20 was our finishing in the middle-order. We don’t have a (David) Miller or (Farhaan) Behardien, experienced players... our guys are still learning in that role.”
It’s not that the Lions don’t have big-hitters. Wiaan Mulder and Dwaine Pretorius are all capable of sending the ball beyond the ropes, while in 21-year-old Ryan Rickleton, the Lions unearthed a hard-hitting talent in the T20 Challenge who coach Geoffrey Toyana thinks has a big future.
“With Rickleton and Nicky van den Berg, guys who need to gain some experience, we have players who if we move our resources around a bit, are capable of (doing that finishing role),” Cook explained.
The Lions again on paper have the look of a team that are capable of challenging for the One-Day Cup, especially their bowlers.
“I like that we have a lot variation, spin, pace and left-arm fast bowler Beuran (Hendricks),” said Cook.
But as per usual there’ll be concerns about the consistency with the bat, and in particular the support for Reeza Hendricks, who finished as the leading run-scorer in the T20 Challenge.
Having Cook’s experience helps, but the likes of Omphile Ramela, Rassie van der Dussen and Mangaliso Mosehle will be under the microscope again.
“I haven’t played a lot, but I have kept myself busy in the amateur set-up,” said Cook.
“I feel like I can pick things up quickly, I’ve been training hard. I’ve felt that since I became captain, I’ve taken a load off myself in terms of worrying about my game all the time, and I try and take care of the other guys.”
Today’s match starts at 1.30pm.