Proteas limited-overs all-rounder JP Duminy will take the reins at the Cape Cobras during the Ram Slam T20 Challenge this season.
The Cobras were captained by Dane Piedt over the past few months, but coach Ashwell Prince has gone for the experience of Duminy‚ who has captained the Proteas and the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League in the past.
"JP’s numbers speak for themselves‚" said Prince.
"I don’t need to add much. JP is the most successful South African batsman in this format.
"He is one of the best T20 batsmen in the world."
Duminy‚ who earlier in 2017 retired from Test cricket to focus on limited overs and to prolong his chances of playing at the World Cup in England in 2019‚ has represented Western Province since his school days.
He will lead a team boasting talented and experienced campaigners such as Hashim Amla‚ Temba Bavuma‚ Vernon Philander and Dane Paterson in their mission to lay their hands on the trophy. He will also rely on players such as Richard Levi‚ Piedt‚ Justin Ontong‚ Jason Smith‚ Andrew Puttick‚ Aviwe Mgijima‚ Stiaan van Zyl‚ Tshepo Moreki and Qaasim Adams.
The tournament starts on Friday with a clash between the Warriors and the Knights at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
The action moves to a double header treat at SuperSport Park on Sunday, where the Cobras face the Dolphins and the Titans take on the Lions.
Ahead of the opener‚ Levi, the Cobras’s swashbuckling opening batsman, threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the teams and said the presence of experienced and flexible international players would boost their chances in the tournament.
"We have a point to prove. I will never be able to play as many shots as AB de Villiers. But it is also about not blocking off yourself and allowing yourself to access different sides of the field‚" said Levi‚ who lost his title as holder of the fastest T20 century to David Miller in October.
In what can only be termed as an interesting turn of events‚ courier service firm Ram Hand to Hand Couriers is back on board as the title sponsor of Cricket SA’s franchise T20 Challenge. The company makes a return after a year’s sabbatical. It terminated its sponsorship after the 2015-16 edition of the tournament, which was engulfed in a match-fixing scandal.
The company pulled its sponsorship at the end of that season and a number of players were suspended for their involvement in the scandal. Ram sponsored the tournament from the 2012-13 season to 2015-16.
Last season’s T20 tournament was won by the Titans, who were also the last team to win the tournament while it had a title sponsor.