CAPE TOWN -Richard Levi has always divided opinion in Cape Town cricket circles. From a young age, when still a prodigy at Wynberg Boys’ High School, Levi had his supporters. But even back then already he had his detractors.
This followed him throughout his career at the Cape Cobras too. Obviously his bulky frame did not help matters, but his inconsistency was also a point of concern. At the same time, though, there were those that remained steadfast that Levi was a match-winner that once blasted the fastest T20 century in international cricket. At least that debate has now finally drawn to a close with Levi’s career at Newlands now having run its course.
Former Cobras coach Paul Adams, though, believes the Western Cape side have a ready-made replacement in the form of 22-year-old Janneman Malan, who joined the Cobras from North West during the winter.
Malan’s record speaks volumes of his ability – he averages 55.51 in first-class and 50.03 in one-day cricket – but the former SA U-19 international would still have wanted to impress in his first outings down in the Cape. An impressive pre-season trip with the Cobras to Durban ensued before following it up with a brilliant 128 not out off just 67 balls in last weekend’s Africa T20 Cup.
Adams, in his current guise as coach of Western Province, saw the blistering innings first-hand and believes Malan is ready to take over the mantle from Levi at the top of the order, particular in white-ball cricket.
“I was quite interested in seeing Janneman play. His numbers give you the indication what type of player he is. I think he keeps it very simple. He has a good understanding of his game for a young player, which shows a lot of maturity at that age. I think the attributes that he has shows that he is a young player that can climb the ladder,” Adams told Independent Media.
“He has good balance in his game, especially upfront where he shows good intent in scoring runs. He is quick in the field, probably throwing is a little of concern, but he makes that up with his speed around the field. I think in time he can show that he can dominate attacks. He will fulfill that (Levi) role.”
Although WP once again failed to progress to the knockout stages of the Africa T20 Cup, there was at least plenty more positives to emerge from the 2018 campaign. Besides Malan’s pyrotechnics at the top of the order, there was also a welcome return to form for veteran Qaasim Adams.
Although 34 years old already, Adams remains one of the cleanest strikers of a cricket ball on the domestic circuit and seems to now have settled back in the Cape after returning from the Titans last year. The powerful left-hander bludgeoned two half-centuries and served Cobras coach Ashwell Prince a timely reminder that he is not ready to bide his time purely in semi-pro cricket for Western Province just yet.
“Qaasim had a bit of a lean run last season, but he went about his game with a lot more freedom this time around. We freed him from the responsibility of having to bat to through the innings. This allowed him to just free his mind, and to bat with no fear. He played really well,” Adams said.