FILE - Ryan Rickelton has been appointed as captain of the Central Gauteng Lions for the inaugural T20 Knockout Challenge. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
FILE - Ryan Rickelton has been appointed as captain of the Central Gauteng Lions for the inaugural T20 Knockout Challenge. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Ryan Rickelton to captain Lions in T20 Knockout Challenge

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Sep 21, 2021

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Ryan Rickelton will captain the Central Gauteng Lions’ senior men’s team in the inaugural T20 Knockout Challenge, the first competition in the 2021/22 season.

Rickelton, a big hitting left-hand opening batsman, has been a steady contributor in the limited overs formats for the now defunct Lions franchise team, having first gained national prominence in the inaugural season of the Mzansi Super League in 2018/19.

It will be Rickelton’s first time captaining at senior level, reflecting his growing influence at the Lions in recent seasons. He was called up for the South African squad that played a T20 series in Pakistan in February - although he never got a start - and then went to Zimbabwe in June as part of an SA A side and scored a hundred in the One-Day series against Zimbabwe A, followed by another in the first class series. “This new tournament is a good opportunity for players to put their mark down early in the season and to test themselves against some really strong teams,” said Rickelton.

The Lions have a balanced blend of youth and experience in their ranks, with Dominic Hendricks - who will captain the side in the Four-Day competition, later this season - included to provide some solidity with the bat, while Malusi Siboto is the most senior member of the attack.

There’s also international experience in the shape of Sisanda Magala and Lutho Sipamla. Shane Dadswell has excited the Lions coaching staff in the off-season, and is the kind of player for whom a tournament like the T20 Knockout could be a springboard to a bigger stage. An off-spinner, the 23-year-old also hits the ball ferociously and brings a strike rate of 169.32 with him from his days at North West. He is famous in local cricket circles for scoring 490 off 151 balls in a club match in Potchefstroom four years ago.

The Lions face Western Province, who will be captained by Wayne Parnell, in the competition’s opening match on Friday morning. South Western Districts and Northern Cape round out the group. The tournament is the first for the newly formulated 15-team provincial system, which replaces the old franchise structure of six sides.

The SA under-19 side have been roped in to provide 16 teams for the competition, which has been split into four groups of four, with matches being played over the next three weeks. The top two teams in each pool qualify for the quarter-finals. The tournament’s final will take place on October 22.

None of the Proteas are available for the tournament, owing to preparations for the T20 World Cup, which starts in a month’s time.

Once Pool A’s fixtures are finished players from the respective teams will provide competition for the Proteas as part of a training camp in Durban.

Imperial Lions Squad:

Ryan Rickelton (capt), Shane Dadswell, Dominic Hendricks, Josh Richards, Ruan Haasbroek, Kagiso Rapulana, Mitchell van Buuren, Sisanda Magala, Malusi Siboto, Tshepo Ntuli, Louren Steenkamp, Tladi Bokako, Lutho Sipamla, Aya Myoli, Carmi le Roux.

@shockerhess

IOL Sport

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