Bad injury forces Ingram to step down as skipper
There was a changing of the guard in the Warriors camp yesterday as Colin Ingram handed over his captaincy reins to both Simon Harmer and Jon-Jon Smuts.
Ingram, 31, has been wrestling the effects of an injured right knee for the better part of two seasons and has been advised that he needs to rest his body in block periods during the upcoming season.
The Warriors start their new campaign with a Sunfoil Series game against the Dolphins in East London tomorrow.
Harmer, 27, will be making all the calls there, just as he did as a stand-in skipper when the Eastern Cape franchise won their final two Sunfoil Series games last season.
Smuts, 28, who led Eastern Province to victory in the Africa T20 Cup at the weekend, will be the white-ball skipper when the limited-overs competitions kick into action later in the campaign.
Ingram underwent an operation five weeks ago and will miss at least four more weeks. His future in red-ball cricket remains uncertain but he will be available to play in the shorter versions of the game.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” the former Proteas lefthander said.
“My heart really lies with this side and I always want to represent them well.”
“I have been struggling for a seasonand- a-half with quite a bad injury to my right knee. Specialists have told me I need to spend quite a bit of time out of the game to allow it to recover – block periods during the season.”
“If I can go away and take those periods of rest, that allows me to stay part of the system for a longer time.”
“So if I have to shed a few days in the field, it’s most likely going to be red-ball stuff and I know that’s an area where the Warriors want to improve, so it will be nice to have a young guy taking it forward.”
Harmer wasted no time in saying the time for talking was over and that the goal for the season was to win a trophy.
“A leadership role is always something I enjoy doing so I’m quite excited about the opportunity,” he said.
“For quite a while now, the Warriors have been battling to put silverware in the cabinet and I think it’s high time [to change that].”
“I think the Eastern Cape sporting community is looking for something and I believe the Warriors can provide that. “We have an exciting squad of players. “Our main intention is to put silverware in the cabinet, whether it be in four days or in the one-day stuff.”
Smuts is on the same page as Harmer.
“It’s obviously a massive honour to captain the Warriors,” the 28-year-old said.
“I’ve done it in once-off games before and it’s very exciting at the moment with Eastern Province winning the Africa T20 Cup on Saturday.”
“As Simon said, we have been threatening for the last couple of years – now is the time to bring back silverware. “The brand of cricket we have been playing is very exciting.”
We’ve just been one game away in a knockout game from getting a shot at that trophy.”
New Warriors’ chief executive Mark Williams is expecting big things of the team this season.
“It’s a fresh start for them and a good opportunity. “Of course, the red-ball format is the one we want to concentrate on.”
“With a major part of the Warriors squad coming from the EP side which won the Africa T20, there is bound to be some momentum. “We ’ve been threatening to bring some silverware and this might be that year, ”Williams said.