22 Jan 2015 17:30pm
PETERSON TAKES COBRAS REINS IN ONE DAY COMPETITION
The Cape Cobras will re-start the One Day Cup on Saturday against the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers with a new captain in the form of Proteas all-rounder Robin Peterson.
Peterson will have the opportunity to put the disappointment of missing out on South Africa's World Cup squad by leading a youthful Cobras team at the Bullring. The Cobras are currently top of the One Day Cup log with 21 points, six ahead of the third-placed Lions. The Dolphins are second on 16 points.
Regular Cobras captain Justin Ontong and vice-captain Dane Vilas are part of Vincent Barnes's SA A team on duty in the first "ODI" against the England Lions in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
The joint One Day Cup defending champions will also be without Stiaan van Zyl and Beuran Hendricks, although Barnes has released left-arm swing bowler Mthokozisi Shezi for Saturday's match.
Peterson has previous leadership experience, having led his former franchise, the Warriors, and SA A on numerous occasions, while the 35-year-old is one of the more senior players on the domestic circuit having made his first-class debut as a teenager way back in 1998/99.
Cobras coach Paul Adams believed Peterson's new role would not affect the team's overall structure, and said his form with the ball remained integral to his team's chances.
The left-arm spinner was currently second on the national wicket-takers table, just one behind another Proteas discard, Lions left-arm bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe, with 11 wickets at 14.81.
"Robin Peterson has been magnificent for us with the ball. And our seam bowlers have taken wickets at the death," Adams said.
"It is vital that our spinners take wickets in the middle period."
Meanwhile, the Lions would also have to make do on Saturday without experienced campaigner Alivro Petersen, extending his recovery period from a knee injury.
Petersen retired from international cricket after the New Year's Test in Cape Town earlier this month, but committed himself to continue playing franchise and English County Championship cricket going forward.
The Lions would have welcomed Petersen's know-how, especially as they too were missing players on SA A duty. Seam bowlers Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada were in Bloemfontein along with leg-spinner Eddie Leie.
At least Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana can welcome back his leading wicket-taker Tsotsobe for this all-important clash.
The Lions would hope Tsotsobe strikes early with the new ball, especially with Cobras opening pair Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick being in good form at the top of the order in this competition.
Puttick is the leading run-scorer nationally with 394 at 98.50.
"Our top-four has been dynamic and has shown good form. They have batted up until the 35th over. It is critical that we set up a solid base, something we have done until now," Adams said.
Considering that over 1 000 runs have been scored in the last two matches at the Wanderers -- in the T20 international and ODI run-fest between the Proteas and the West Indies -- the bowlers will certainly have their work cut to contain the batsmen on Saturday evening.