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Ken Borland



Titans limit their Black African batting options but beef up bowling 0

Posted on May 10, 2017 by Ken

 

The absence of a single fully-contracted Black African batsman in the Titans squad for next season could limit their options when it comes to fulfilling the quota of three in every starting line-up, but CEO Jacques Faul said they had decided to beef up their bowling.

Grant Mokoena, who averaged just 26 in eight Sunfoil Series games and scored 49 runs at a strike-rate of only 89 in his three T20 appearances, has joined the Knights, while Daniel Sincuba played one four-day game, scoring 32 and 0, and has been released.

Former SA U19 Junior World Cup captain Tony de Zorzi showed glimpses of promise in a few opportunities he was given towards the end of the season, and he has been given a rookie contract, and the inside lane in terms of Black African batsmen.

Mokoena and Sincuba’s contracts have gone to a pair of fast bowlers who excelled for Northerns in their triumphant season – Eldred Hawken and Alfred Mothoa, while former SA U19 batsman Andrea Agathangelou, who has played county cricket for Lancashire and Leicestershire, has been signed from South-Western Districts.

“It’s probably not ideal, but we still have a lot of batting depth and we have decided to run with Tony de Zorzi, simply because whoever we bring in needs to be on the same sort of level as a Henry Davids or Aiden Markram, and there’s probably nobody close to that.

“We’ve beefed up the bowling and we have three quality pacemen in Lungi Ngidi, Malusi Siboto and Junior Dala, plus Alfred Mothoa is a banker and we’re excited about left-arm spinner Gregory Mahlokwana, who got injured after his first game, but we think he will play more,” Faul told The Citizen on Friday.

Nevertheless, readers of the Titans squad list will be struck by the tremendous depth at their disposal – eight current nationally-contracted players, four former Proteas and three players with bright international futures in Heinrich Klaasen, Markram and Ngidi.

Players like fast bowler Dala and leg-spinner Shaun von Berg are also certainly on the national selectors’ radar having been chosen for SA A and the CSA spin camp in India respectively.

Titans Contracted Players 2017/18: Andrea Agathangelou, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Heinrich Klaasen, Heino Kuhn, Eldred Hawken, Aiden Markram, Albie Morkel, Alfred Mothoa, Lungi Ngidi, Rowan Richards, Malusi Siboto, Grant Thomson, David Wiese, Shaun von Berg, Jonathan Vandiar. Rookies – Tony de Zorzi, Rivaldo Moonsamy. CSA-contracted national players – Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morné Morkel, Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi.

 

Sixes have Titans CEO Faul whistling a happy tune 0

Posted on September 16, 2014 by Ken

Titans CEO Jacques Faul was whistling a happy tune at SuperSport Park yesterday after the success of the inaugural Global Softech Sixes held at the stadium over the weekend.

“We’re very happy, the Franchise Challenge was very competitive and the Africa Challenge was good too. We learnt a lot from the first event, we had fun too and we’re proud of this new tournament. We really got our brand and the stadium out there.

“It’s a massive hospitality opportunity so you don’t really expect the general public to come in their droves, but we were pleasantly surprised by how many people were there on Sunday. Compared to a one-day domestic cup event, the crowd was very good,” Faul told The Pretoria News yesterday.

The concept is now set to be taken to neighbouring countries, with two of the participants in the Africa Challenge, Namibia and Zimbabwe, eager to host the event.

“We will roll it out to Walvis Bay and Harare, their representatives were very excited by the tournament and they want to host something similar next year,” Faul said.

Although the format of the competition is set to change, Faul warned that the actual rules of the Sixes game are unlikely to be fiddled with.

“We’ll maybe go for six franchises and four African nations in two pools in the next event, and play it on Friday, Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.

“What we don’t want though is for the event to just be normal cricket. We want something else, which is why we bring the boundaries such a long way in and we have five overs with very small boundaries.

“We’re happy with the format of the games, it’s been trialled for years at the Hong Kong Sixes. People mustn’t look at this event with a traditional cricket perspective,” Faul said.

For eons, cricket has somewhat naively been associated with fair play, but the end of the Franchise Challenge, with the Titans deliberately trying to avoid getting someone out so as to avoid Dolphins captain Morne van Wyk, who had an incredible tournament, returning to the crease after his enforced retirement, showed that there are rules in Sixes that can be exploited in ways that some may consider to be “not cricket”.

But Faul said there was no need to change those rules.

“Different strategies will happen as the players play more of the format; the feedback from the players was very positive,” Faul said.

The South African team proved invincible in the Africa Challenge and Faul suggested they would not play in future events so as to level the playing fields. Logistically, it was also well nigh impossible to pick the national team from performances in the Franchise Challenge, leading to a player like Van Wyk being omitted.

 

Kallis’s departure from Cobras to Titans not likely 0

Posted on April 01, 2014 by Ken

Jacques Kallis is not about to sign for the Unlimited Titans and weekend rumours that the cancellation of his long-term relationship with the Cape Cobras is imminent have been described as “very premature speculation” by Titans chief executive Jacques Faul.

Weekend reports suggested that the Titans could well be enjoying the services of Kallis next season, but Faul told The Pretoria News that these reports were based on nothing more than just a suggestion made in connection with a new commercial product the franchise are launching.

“One of the commercial sponsorship products we are looking at is a thing called The Art of Fast Bowling and, in our discussions with people like Kallis and Dale Steyn and their representatives, it was mentioned that it might provide the opportunity for big-name players to play here.

“But we haven’t even got sponsors confirmed yet so it’s very premature speculation,” Faul said.

As a nationally-contracted player, Kallis is allowed to nominate which franchise he wants to represent and the Cape still holds the most obvious attractions for him. The great all-rounder has lived his whole life there, his best friends live there and the Cobras have qualified for the Champions League T20 while the Titans have not.

The Art of Fast Bowling will be a series of masterclasses and speaking breakfasts hosted by some of the biggest names in South African cricket, which the Titans will market and sell.

Titans strike it big with Elgar signing 0

Posted on March 17, 2014 by Ken

The Unlimited Titans have made arguably the biggest strike in the domestic transfer market by securing the services of top-order batsman Dean Elgar for the next two seasons, chief executive Jacques Faul confirmed yesterday.

The Knights left-hander is on the verge of becoming a Test regular following the retirement of Graeme Smith and he has a first-class average of 43.69 and a List A average of 37.61, plus a strike-rate of 110.15 with a great average of 38.96 in T20 cricket.

“Dean is the kind of player we need at the Titans, he’s gutsy, well-respected in South African cricket and he gives it his all. He’s a helluva player in all three formats, but especially in four-day cricket. At the moment we’re playing guys who are averaging in the 20s, which is not what we want. Dean is a special player and he gives us lots of options,” Faul told The Pretoria News yesterday.

And it would appear to be a good bet that Elgar hits top form for the Titans because Smith’s absence has now given him the chance to cement a regular place for himself in the national team, as evidenced by Cricket South Africa’s decision to give him a contract once the Test skipper retired.

“If he performs at our level then he will become a permanent fixture in the national team. But he must do well for us first and I believe he’ll be fresh, hungry and wanting to prove himself. He’s wanted to come here for a long time and he’s one of the guys who has always been keen to play for his franchise,” Faul said.

While the 26-year-old Elgar is a high-quality signing that will make a real difference to the Titans team, the ambitious franchise did not stop there and also targeted fellow Proteas Ryan McLaren and Quinton de Kock.

McLaren – who Faul complimented on his “honest” negotiations – has been confirmed as a Dolphins player for next season, while De Kock is most likely to remain as a marquee player for the Titans’ Gauteng rivals, the Highveld Lions.

“Obviously we wanted to strengthen the squad but franchises do make counter-offers and sometimes guys are not as serious about moving as they say,” Faul said.

The Titans are also in negotiations with Jacques Rudolph,who wants to be considered as only a limited-overs player next season, and Faul was optimistic that there would be a good outcome, describing the left-handed top-order batsman as “another special player”.

Seamer CJ de Villiers has been sent on his way, while paceman Junior Dala, currently on loan from the Lions, will be joining the Titans full-time next season.

Other high-flying youngsters being rewarded with improved deals are batsman Graeme van Buuren (rookie contract) and Tukkies star Theunis de Bruyn (semi-pro).

Despite the hype around SA U19 captain Aiden Markram, the batsman will have to make do with a contract from the University of Pretoria for the time being.

“Aiden is a very talented young player, very level-headed and smart, and the sort of guy we want to hang on to. But we literally don’t have space because we’re only allowed to contract a certain number of players. We have other former SA U19 stars like Murray Coetzee and Theunis at Tukkies and my best advice to Aiden is to stay patient,” Faul said.

Other big-name moves in franchise cricket include Lions spinner Eddie Leie moving to the Knights, along with Cobras T20 star Richard Levi, and Dolphins left-arm seamer Mthokozisi Shezi possibly going to the Cobras.



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