CAPE TOWN – “When I got dropped from the Test side a couple of years ago, I was told that I need to work on my batting”.
It is these words that drove Dane Piedt to his maiden first-class century against the Knights last weekend in Bloemfontein.
The Cape Cobras skipper, who has played seven Tests for the Proteas, stroked 114 off just 145 balls that enabled the Western Cape franchise to remain at the summit of the Four-Day Franchise Series.
Piedt is certainly enjoying a fantastic 2018-19 season. He is the undisputed leader at the Cobras, cajoling a group of talented young players and some seasoned veterans into a formidable unit. And like every captain knows, nothing is achieved if the leader doesn’t show the way.
It is a responsibility Dane Piedt takes exceptionally seriously, hence the 33 wickets he has claimed this season already to place him right at the top of the competition’s wicket-takers list.
But for all his wickets, Piedt knows that to earn a recall to the Proteas Test squad he needs to be able to offer the national selectors a more complete package.
“I have always thought I could bat. I have a solid defensive technique. But I was scoring 20 off 60 balls, and while that sometimes helps the guy at the other end reach his milestone, when I was dropped from the Test (team) I was told that I needed to work on my batting,” said Piedt, who has averaged 31 with the bat for the past two seasons for the Cobras.
“I have taken this on board and done a lot of work with Ashwell (Prince) and Faiek (Davids) who throw a lot of balls at me. Ash has also helped a lot with my intensity at the crease, and playing with more intent. This has allowed me to be a lot more aggressive at the crease, and coming in at No 8 and playing with a strike-rate of 70 percent can hurt many a team.”
It is not only the skipper that achieved a personal milestone last weekend. Tailender Mthiwekhaya Nabe struck a career-best 68 off 85 balls that formed part of a 132-run partnership with Piedt for the Cobras’ ninth wicket.
Considering Nabe’s previous first-class best was just 14, it was a significant achievement.
“We really enjoyed batting together. I obviously took most of the strike at the beginning, but when we heard Janneman (Malan) was going to bat at No 11 after injuring his finger earlier, I started giving Mthi more strike,” Piedt said.
“He really enjoyed having a partner that showed faith in him for he started running the twos hard to remain on strike. His confidence grew the longer he was at the crease, and a true sign of the cricket that we try to play is that we both went to our respective milestones by hitting sixes.”
The Cobras have a couple of days off before they regroup at training for Monday’s all-important clash against the Titans at Newlands.@ZaahierAdams