CAPE TOWN – Sometimes when the pressure is at its most intense, like the position the Paarl Rocks currently find themselves in, a team need a character within the squad just to keep things a little bit light.
Tabraiz Shamsi fulfils that role for the Rocks. Not only is he a star left-arm Chinaman bowler, but he also keeps the spirits up in the camp.
If he is not leading the singing on the team bus, there are also those crazy celebrations that keep his teammates and the crowd entertained on the field.
The Rocks have precious little wriggle room after their midweek defeat to Tshwane Spartans at SuperSport Park.
Only a victory in provincial derby over Cape Town Blitz at Newlands on Friday night (7pm start) will suffice if they are to continue harbouring ambitions of qualifying for the playoffs.
“No pressure,” Shamsi said in response to whether the Rocks are feeling the heat. “Even though we lost our last game, I see a lot of positives. It was a small target, and we took a strong batting line-up into the last over. Because the log is so jam-packed, it gives us confidence.
“We are playing T20 cricket, and the fans come out and spend their hard-earned money to come and watch us,” he added about his celebrations.
“I want to have fun out there. We all started playing the game because we enjoyed it. Obviously the higher up you go, there is more pressure. Each and every performance is scrutinised.
“I don’t want to lose that fun element. A lot of people get nervous, so it’s my way of just staying calm and enjoying myself.”
The Rocks will certainly hope that Shamsi can deliver another performance like his 3/18 on Wednesday, that almost sneaked the Rocks over the line at SuperSport Park.
However, he will come up against a determined Blitz team aiming to avenge their derby defeat in the first round.
“It was a tough challenge playing until 11pm the night before, then having to fly the next day and play again, that was tough,” Blitz coach Ashwell Prince said.
“We have had a good build-up to the game, so we should be a little bit fresher.
“It will definitely be a different surface here in comparison to the Paarl pitch. We are looking forward to a good game.”
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