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Ken Borland

Titans have fresh mindset for title defence

Posted on September 20, 2012 by Ken

The final SuperSport Series trophy has been inscribed with “2011/12 champions Nashua Titans” but coach Matthew Maynard has imprinted a fresh mindset on his team for the new four-day competition, the Sunfoil Series.

“We’re trying to win the title, not defend it. It’s a slightly different mindset, but it means we just want to win every game. It’s obviously a massive competition for us and we know the opposition will have a slightly different take on us,” Maynard said at SuperSport Park on Tuesday.

The Titans will also be led by a new captain this year in Henry Davids, and Maynard said the appointment was made bearing in mind the disruption to the team caused by call-ups to their numerous national players.

“At this stage of Henry’s career, it’s definitely the right move. While Martin van Jaarsveld is very vocal and leads from the front, Henry is more likely to just go round and have a quiet word with the boys. He’s the guy I see taking the team forward.

“While someone like Faf du Plessis may be viewed as a more natural leader, his international commitments mean there would be too much disruption to the team and I’m big on not having disruptions to the team.”

Davids himself said he was excited by the challenge and, having averaged 35.65 in four-day cricket for the Titans, with just two centuries in 33 innings since joining the franchise in 2010/11, he is hoping the captaincy will also inspire him to greater deeds with the bat.

“It’s just an extra responsibility and I’m sure it will bring out the best in me. I enjoy challenges and I’ve been inspired by them in the past.

“My personality is to stay very calm and hopefully that will rub off on the team. They are very calm usually and I can be stern where needed too,” Davids said.

The Titans will go into their opening Sunfoil Series match, against the Knights in Kimberley from Thursday, already weakened by international call-ups for Du Plessis and Farhaan Behardien.

“It’s obviously tough losing Farhaan and Faf, and then Jacques Rudolph will be going on tour to Australia, but we’ll manage as we did last year and cover it. The players that came in last season all put their hands up, it wasn’t just two or three players that won us the SuperSport Series,” Maynard said.

The Titans are likely to go into the game against the Knights with two left-arm spinners in Paul Harris and Roelof van der Merwe, with Davids providing the off-break variety, while the pace bowling stocks are healthy with Ethy Mbhalati, CJ de Villiers, left-armer Rowan Richards and David Wiese, the other genuine all-rounder in the team.

The batting will be heavily dependent on Rudolph, Heino Kuhn and Davids, with two players in the top-order who are still learning their trade at this level in Tumelo Bodibe and Pieter Malan.

Davids sees the Knights as “tricky” opposition and one of the main challengers to their four-day title.

“The Knights are very tricky and they’ve been up there challenging since the start of the franchise competition. We’re expecting a great challenge and, even though there is no weak franchise in South Africa at the moment, we’re expecting the Knights and Cobras to give us the most problems,” Davids said.

LIKELY TITANS TEAM – Jacques Rudolph, Tumelo Bodibe, Pieter Malan, Henry Davids, Heino Kuhn, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, CJ de Villiers, Paul Harris, Ethy Mbhalati, Rowan Richards. 12th man: Shaun von Berg.

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