Omphile Ramela will take charge of the Cape Cobras in his new role as captain of their Sunfoil Series side when they travel to Willowmoore Park to face an in-form the Titans on Sunday. Ramela was handed the job at the start of the season but missed the Cobras’ innings defeat to the Knights last week because he was on duty with South Africa A. Now he has the task of lifting a franchise that have not appeared to be quite themselves this season, proving inconsistent and lacking their usual swagger in the limited overs formats and then getting beaten heavily by the Knights at the start of the four-day competition.
Coach Paul Adams says: ‘It’s part of us identifying a leadership group within our squad, and also with some experience around him I think he’ll grow into the role. He’s come a long way within our squad and shown some good qualities as a leader.’ After fielding four Proteas players last weekend, the Cobras will slot back into a more settled side that can expect to do duty for the majority of the competition. Justin Ontong, Dane Vilas and Robin Peterson all return along with Ramela, while Rory Kleinveldt is also back from his latest injury to boost the fast bowling stocks.
The only real surprise on the team sheet is Simon Khomari, with the former South Africa Under-19 player in line for a franchise debut. Adams says: ‘He gives us an option as an opening batsman – he’s been doing quite well for Boland, and he played with us in our pre-season games and really impressed us. So he’s one of the young players within our semi-pro setup that we’re looking to grow as cricketers.’ Meanwhile, the Titans have an almighty selection headache, with South Africa A players Quinton De Kock, Chris Morris and Marchant De Lange all coming back into a winning side, and left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi called up after he took 9/87 for Easterns against Free State last weekend.
Fast bowler Eldred Hawken has already been left out of the squad despite taking five wickets on debut against the Warriors last weekend, but the selectors will face further questions over how to pick a playing XI from a strong squad of 13. Captain Henry Davids says: ‘It shows just how much depth we have at the Titans. Last week’s win was especially handy for maintaining the high confidence levels as there was a big turnaround in the squad – a lot of guys weren’t involved in the Ram Slam campaign.’
Titans squad: Heino Kuhn, Henry Davids (capt), Theunis De Bruyn, Farhaan Behardien, Grant Mokoena, David Wiese, Mangaliso Mosehle, Rowan Richards, Ethy Mbhalati, Quinton De Kock, Chris Morris, Marchant De Lange, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Cobras squad: Omphile Ramela (capt), Andrew Puttick, Simon Khomari, Justin Ontong, Keegan Petersen, Dane Vilas, Lesiba Ngoepe, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson, Lizaad Williams, Beuran Hendricks, Tshepo Moreki.