EP ready for Kingsmead showdown
Coach Piet Botha wary of the threat posed by KwaZulu-Natal Coastal
Eastern Province coach Piet Botha said his team are itching to play their first game in more than a month when they take on KwaZulu-Natal Coastal in the CSA Provincial 3-Day Cup at Kingsmead starting on Thursday.
Departing for Durban on Wednesday, Botha said the team was ready to get back into the competitive side of the game having last played a provincial 3-Day match in their convincing double over Border in the metro at the start of November.
“For us, it’s basically going back to what we have been doing before the break, we played some good cricket before the break.
“We must take each session on its own and try to win as many sessions as we can in the game, play every ball on merit, build partnerships and in the bowling department, take wickets and just to be as competitive as possible,” he said.
The cross-pool fixture will see EP take on the coastal side, who are currently languishing at the foot end of Pool B. However, Botha said they were wary about taking the hosts lightly.
“They could also have one or two players who are not participating in the Mzansi Super League, so we are expecting them to field a strong team.
"They also have a couple of fast bowlers who have been consistently doing well. So they are a very competitive team who did quite well last season, so we expecting a good game,” he said.
With the game originally scheduled to be contested at Chatsworth Oval, Botha said on Monday the match will now be played at Kingsmead.
“There are always factors to take into account when playing at Kingsmead and it is known for having a lot of grass cover because the pitch is no longer as quick as it used to bePiet Botha, EP coach
“There are always factors to take into account when playing at Kingsmead, and it is known for having a lot of grass cover because the pitch is no longer as quick as it used to be.
“That could be a challenge in the morning sessions with a 9am start. So your first hour becomes critical in that we need to protect our wickets if batting first, and try to make an impact when we bowl."
Botha said it would be important to assess conditions during the match so as to be totally aware of any situation which might arise as the day progresses, as it could play a key role in the performances of not only his side, but their opponents as well.
Asked about the likes of Tian Koekemoer, Thomas Kaber and Glenton Stuurman, who find themselves among the top batsmen and bowlers in the cup, Botha said it was a testament to the hard work they are putting in off the field.
However, he reiterated that it was a team effort and that every player had a role to play within the squad.
“If you play well as a team, automatically you are going to have guys who fall within that bracket of the top players in the country.
“I am a firm believer that the good numbers they are producing are as a result of the good cricket being played by the team as a whole."
Botha did not mention any injury concerns and added that a few guys like Eddie Moore and Clyde Fortuin will be available for selection, while Matthew Breetzke and Lesibe Ngoepe will also add strength to the squad.