CAPE TOWN – Make no mistake, the Cape Cobras are hurting. And they are not even going to try and hide it because they really wanted to win the Four-Day Franchise Series title.
But it was not just about their desire, but also the effort they put in and none more so than by captain Dane Piedt.
The off-spinner finished as the leading wicket-taker in the competition with 54 scalps – the first time a spinner has claimed 50 wickets in the four-day series – but even more importantly he bowled a monumental 511.5 overs over the course of the 10 matches. That’s 169.2 overs more than the next bowler Simon Harmer.
But even Piedt, who was near inconsolable after his team lost out to the Highveld Lions during the final four minutes of the season, knows that they need to move on from the disappointment as the One-Day Cup gets under way on Friday already when the Cobras host the Warriors in Paarl.
“I have never done it for accolades. Or for people to tell me ‘well bowled’. I do it to take the team over the line. That’s all I did this season was to help the team win games of cricket,” Piedt said.
“Yes, it was quite hard on me in the dressing-room afterwards seeing a group of young guys all driven and pushing for the same objective as the team was. It was quite heartbreaking seeing their reaction. But I think we did a good exercise yesterday when we had no training and just walked up to Newlands forest. It was to see where everybody was. I think it is important that we lift ourselves because there is a new competition around the corner.”
The Cobras have long regarded themselves as more than just a cricket team. They treat each teammate like family, which could possibly have a major bearing on how they pitch up on Friday. Coach Ashwell Prince tragically suffered the death of a close friend this past week, which has changed the focus within the team environment.
“It was tough at the end of the game, the way it all ended. But it has been a tough week since as well which has put things into perspective. I am referring to things a lot bigger than cricket. One of my close friends in Port Elizabeth lost his life, and we had something in our camp, when you put those things in perspective there is a lot more to life,” Prince said.
At times like these often a philosophical approach is required. It is therefore possibly not a moment too soon that JP Duminy is training with the Cobras again after his long-term shoulder injury. Duminy, won’t be available for Friday’s clash – his expected comeback is within a fortnight – but he has already made an invaluable impact.
“JP brings a different dimension to our team. We are obviously very different in our personalities. He is a deep thinker and those types of things are important for an inexperienced squad that is playing good cricket,” Piedt said.
The Cobras are also struggling with a couple of injuries to batsman Simon Khomari and medium-pacer Mthiwekhaya Nabe. This should open the way for teenager Akhona Mnyaka to make his Cobras List A debut on Friday.