Injury-plagued Warriors to rely on Prince

Neale Emslie

FRESH from a near-double century against the Cape Cobras, senior batsman Ashwell Prince will have a critical role to play when an injury-hit Warriors take on the Titans in a Sunfoil Series fixture at Axxess St George’s, starting today.

As the Warriors seek their first victory in the four-day competition, they are missing five frontline players in Davy Jacobs (ankle), Colin Ingram (calf strain), Rusty Theron (side strain), Andrew Birch (ankle) and Christiaan Jonker (groin). Jonker has not yet played in any of the Sunfoil Series games.

The list of injuries sees a recall for Michael Price and Jon-Jon Smuts, while provincial team skipper Colin Ackermann deservedly gets a chance after an impressive run of form this season. The righthander is the second-highest run- scorer in the Provincial three-day competition this season, with 500 runs at an average of 62.50.

On the plus side, the Warriors welcome back national player Wayne Parnell, who will have key roles to play with bat and ball, while SWD’s Brendon Louw steps in to keeper in place of Jacobs.

The Warriors may be unbeaten but have not won any matches either, and Prince will have an important role to play in marshalling the batting resources as they try to gain an edge.

Prince made a superb 198 in their last game against the Cobras and Warriors coach Piet Botha will be looking for more of that form against the Titans. He is aware of the need to break through with a win.

Even though he is not playing, Jacobs is hoping for a fairer contest between bat and ball. “I just think we’ve played on three really flat wickets,” Jacobs said. “Last season the wickets were going around and games lasted two or three days.

“Now it’s sort of gone the other way – it’s almost too flat so it’s been difficult to get results in the first three games. I’ll take a green mamba any day.” In contrast with the Warriors, the Titans have been strengthened by the return of Jacques Rudolph, who has not played since the early stages of the Momentum One-Day Cup when he suffered a fractured hand.

Albie Morkel will make his first appearance of the season, but Marchant de Lange is still struggling for full fitness and Farhaan Behardien is suspended.

“It’s been a little frustrating with the weather but that’s obviously something you can’t control,” Titans captain Henry Davids said of their season.

In other matches this weekend, the Lions host the Dolphins in Potchefstroom and the Cape Cobras play the Knights in Cape Town.

Warriors squad:

Michael Price, David White, Jon-Jon Smuts, Ashwell Prince, Ryan Bailey, Colin Ackermann, Simon Harmer, Wayne Parnell, Brendan Louw, Basheer Walters, Gurshwin Rabie, Aya Gqamane.

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