Hollywood Bets will continue to be the Dolphins sponsor for the foreseeable future. Photo: @DolphinsCricket via Twitter

The Dolphins will be sponsored by Hollywood Bets for another three years, both parties confirmed on Tuesday.

The betting company has shown its hand over the past few weeks, as they had already committed to sponsoring both amateur teams in the Africa T20 Cup.

There has been a flurry of sponsorship agreements and renewals in South African cricket in the run-up to the 2017/18 season.

That would suggest the sport is in rude health with the T20 Global League blasting off in November.

In Durban, Hollywood Bets have carved their own niche.

The splash of purple around the place has become synonymous with the Kingsmead-based franchise, as well as the stadium.

It comes at a terrific time for the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union, with a strong sense of optimism.

At the behest of new chief executive Heinrich Strydom, both the amateur teams, KZN Inland and KZN Coastals, as well as the franchise Dolphins players, got together at Kingsmead for a day.

That may sound straightforward, but the simple things don’t always happen in KZN cricket, with teams playing under the same badge sometimes operating as if in different provinces.

The Dolphins, Inland and Coastals all rotated training stations before the two amateur sides played a T20 warm-up fixture at Kingsmead later that evening.

All the administrative and ground staff from Pietermaritzburg had been driven down for the day.

They met their counterparts, shared ideas and concerns, then had a team braai.

It was a show of unity, with the idea that the synergy created would have a bigger outcome when the three teams travel the country.

The Dolphins are chipper about challenging for honours this year, and training has been intense as the realisation dawned there was serious competition for places.

These are great problems for coach Grant Morgan.

Several Dolphins had productive winters, with skipper Khaya Zondo, among those who turned out for the South African A side, captaining the one-day outfit.

He will be eyeing a first full season in charge.

The acquisition of Dane Vilas, a franchise cricket stalwart with gloves and bat, looks to be timely.

The buzz created by the T20 Global League has galvanised young and old, with some veterans securing deals that pay homage to their enduring skill and influence, and many youngsters backed for their potential.

Kingsmead is bubbling along, even with no Boxing Day fixture confirmed.

There is an innovative, young leader in charge, a sponsorship renewal, fresh faces, and the hope that Natal cricket can thrive again.

The Sunfoil Series campaign starts next week with the Dolphins hosting the Knights in Maritzburg from Tuesday.


The Mercury

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