EP cricketers look to build momentum

Coach Piet Botha says players thrilled to get back on park


Eastern Province coach Piet Botha believes momentum will be key as his side kicks off a busy period starting against Boland at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth from Thursday.
Speaking on Wednesday ahead of final preparations for the Boland match, Botha said the lack of game time prior to the clash has been frustrating.
The team had a mixed bag of results in their last match against Northerns in Pretoria in January where they drew the 3-Day match, before suffering a 50-run defeat in the One-Day Cup match.
Botha hopes to see his team get back to winning ways as they welcome the Western Cape side to the Bay for a match sure to offer up a few surprises.
“It's frustrating at the moment because we are playing in patches. We would like to get some momentum going in terms of the amount of cricket we're playing.
“This month should be a bit better as we have about three games and I think we have prepared so well for the season but it's just about getting rhythm. That is why we won't focus on anything in the past we just looking forward to what we can do now,” he said.
Botha said they would look to stick to what they know this weekend in terms of their own game and just be as competitive as they can be.
“I would say we are just excited to get back on the park and play. We know what we have done well so far and we are also aware the small things we look to improve.
“After this game, we have another two games back-to-back so we are just looking forward to playing now,” he said.
Botha preferred not to reflect too much on the Northerns match, although he has called for improvements in the batting department.
“I think we just need a bit more confidence in our batting. We look a little bit tentative with our batting of late.
“I think we have always been a good defending side in 50 over cricket, but lately we haven't really been stamping our authority on the batting. So that is one area we will look to work on and improve,” Botha added.
In order to keep the competitive juices flowing, Botha said the team continued their normal practice sessions which was centred around fitness work to keep guys in top condition.
“We do a lot of fitness, and we obviously practice every week. We also played an academy game last Wednesday apart from the club cricket the guys play. It was a chance to get another competitive game in because we do everything we can to make sure the guys are properly prepared,” he added.
With a few players been called up to the franchise set up with the Warriors in recent matches, Botha said: “It is a boost for their careers to be granted the opportunity of playing at a higher level, but it also acts as motivation for the younger players to step up their own game and make a claim for a place in the our squad and beyond.”
On the injury front, Botha said Kelly Smuts would undergo a fitness test on Thursday morning after struggling with a slight foot issue.
He further added that any new faces coming into the squad would be determined by the Warriors team selection for the upcoming Momentum One-Day Cup which gets under way this week.

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