Photo Credit: ICC
Proteas fast bowler Junior Dala will be adopting an open mind for this weekend’s inaugural 3TeamCricket match presented by Rain, that will see live sport return for the first time in South Africa after more than 100 days.
The Solidarity Cup challenge – a new format that sees three teams play against each other in a single match for the first time – takes place at SuperSport Park at Centurion and will be played without any fans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The match has also been put together to raise funds for the Hardship Fund, a joint Cricket South Africa (CSA) project which aims to provide relief to those within the cricket industry affected by the current crisis.
Dala, who is part of AB de Villiers’ Takealot Eagles, is looking forward to it.
“I’ve seen the videos that have been advertised and I have a rough understanding of the game,” he said. “I spoke to my team-mate Aiden (Markram) the other day and we think the best approach is to go at it with an open mind because it’s great playing cricket anyway.
“If you’re going to think about it too much then you’re just going to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Fortunately we have that warm-up game on Thursday and I’ll try to get used to the rules then. For now, I’m just working on the skills side of things and see if I can bowl straight.”
The 30-year-old, who has played 11 times for the Proteas in limited-overs cricket, admits that returning to the field of play is extremely pleasing.
He continued: “It has been tough times. We have been quite limited the past few months until more recently when were allowed to run outdoors.
“But there hasn’t been any bowling as such, I know we’re meant to be in pre-season which is a time when a lot of the guys try and top up their skills. We haven’t had that, so now it’s nice to get out and play again. Even though it’s not what we’re used to, it will be competitive, we all have that as players and we look forward to it.”
Dala is also unsure what to expect in terms of his injury return plans, saying he will only know more on that as the week progresses.
“I was coming back from two injuries (when the season abruptly ended),” he explained. “Both have hampered me in the last season, so hopefully that is behind me now.
“Physically I’m fit but I’ll only really know once I bowl. I think I’m healthy, I’ve worked really hard so I’m looking forward to having an injury-free season.”
The match, taking place on Nelson Mandela International Day this Saturday, will be broadcast on SuperSport 2. It is also the first live action since the middle of March when the coronavirus forced most of the world into lockdown.
“There’s going to be a lot of people watching and ultimately we need to remember why we’re playing this game as well,” Dala adds. “It’s for a good cause and it comes at a time when the world is going through a difficult time. Especially in South Africa and for those who are going to be watching, we need to remind them of what awaits us after COVID-19.
“We will be trying to put on a good show, bring smiles to the faces and all of us will be going out there to do our best on the day.”
The 3TC match is contested between three teams of eight players each. The match is played over 36 overs in two halves of 18 overs with a break at halftime. In the second half, teams bat in order of the highest scores in the first half. If scores are tied, the first half order is reversed.
The squads for 3TC are:
Mr D Food Kites: Quinton De Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Jon-Jon Smuts, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Anrich Nortje. Coach: Wandile Gwavu.
OUTsurance Kingfishers: Heinrich Klaasen (captain), Reeza Hendricks, Janneman Malan, Faf du Plessis, Thando Ntini, Gerald Coetzee, Glenton Stuurman, Tabraiz Shamsi. Coach: Mignon du Preez.
Takealot Eagles: AB de Villiers (captain), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Andile Phehlukwayo, Bjorn Fortuin, Junior Dala, Lungi Ngidi. Coach: Geoffrey Toyana.