Jon-Jon to captain the Bay’s Giants
Warriors ace Jon-Jon Smuts will captain the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in their first match against the Jozi Stars when the Mzansi Super League starts in November.
Smuts, who also captains the Warriors franchise, was named captain at a launch event for the Giants held at City Hall on Thursday – to the applause of onlookers.
Speaking about his selection, Smuts said: “It’s a massive honour for me to be selected to captain this team.
“It’s an awesome crowd to play in front of, the PE supporters are very loyal and really love their sports and I am really looking forward to it.
“We have a really exciting team and a good bunch of guys,” he said.
Mayor Mongameli Bobani said the tournament, which will have the Bay as a host city for the next three years, was not only good for the city, but also for the Eastern Cape as a whole.
Warriors coach Rivash Gobind – who will assist Giants coach Eric Simons – said the team was powerful from a batting perspective, and was filled with individuals who were match-winners on their day.
“T20 cricket is all about impact,” he said.
“We have players and individuals who, if they perform on the day, can make an impact on the game.
“In terms of a starting XI, there is going to be a large number of match-winners in there and I am very excited to see how it all fits together,” Gobind said.
He said it had been amazing to be part of the player draft process and it had been beneficial for him and bowling coach Mfuneko Ngam to experience it so early in their coaching careers.
“The night before there was not much sleep for anyone, but I think we were fortunate in that our planning was spot-on and we were well prepared.
“After the first eight or nine rounds we got about 90% of the targets we had identified.”
Gobind pointed out that the tournament would be good exposure for the younger players to play alongside those who have had a the taste of international cricket.
“We have seen the benefit of this type of domestic tournament in Australia, India and Pakistan, where youngsters get exposed to the next tier of international players and get to play with current Proteas, so they can only benefit from that experience.”
Ngam said there were bowlers in the side capable of wreaking havoc on any batting lineup.
Speaking about working with former Proteas coach Simons, Ngam said: “Eric is a good man who knows his stuff, so we will be there to assist him in whatever he needs and try to be the best supporting staff to him while learning as much as we can.”
In a video message to the people of Nelson Mandela Bay, Proteas fast bowler and Giants first pick Chris Morris said he was looking forward to representing the people of the Bay and hoped to play his part by performing to his best and representing the people with pride.
The fixtures to be played at St George’s Park are:
Friday November 23 at 7pm: NMB Giants v Durban Heat
Tuesday November 27 at 7pm: Giants v Cape Town Blitz
Friday November 30 at 7pm: Giants v Paarl Rocks
Sunday December 2 at 3:30pm: Giants v Jozi Stars
Saturday December 8 at 7pm: Giants v Tshwane Spartans