BuildNat, one of the fastest emerging construction companies in South Africa, confirmed their association with a prestigious and dominant South African cricket-franchise, the Cape Cobras, on Thursday in a deal that will see them become their headline team sponsor in all three domestic formats for the next two years.

BuildNat is a true all-rounder that handles projects in all sectors of the construction industry from residential to industrial commercial, agricultural and turnkey projects.

The past three years has seen the company expand operations by 120 % and become one of the top emerging construction companies in the country. “Our goal is to be amongst the top-ten in South Africa by 2019,” said Mr Aiman Booley, founder of BuildNat.

“We develop sub-contractors whom we evolve through a learning process and then add them on to the list of contractors,” he added.

The expansion of the company the past three years has required skill, competency and capacity to manage the diversity and complexity of the infrastructure development.  Buildnat has also partnered with other suppliers and service providers who have the same ethos.

I am immensely proud and privileged that an evolving construction power-house like BuildNat could come on board as team sponsor of the Cape Cobras,” said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Cobras.

“Like BuildNat, we pride ourselves in our ability to meet diverse needs while embracing excellence.

“The Cape Cobras and its pipeline-structures have been instrumental in generating more than 10 international players in the recent past.

The Cobras have produced or lured world-class stars the past 15 years, including Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, JP Duminy, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, Charl Langeveldt and Gary Kirsten.

“Our proud record in all three formats are self-evident, as we won four four-day trophies the past four years, were crowned 50-over domestic champions five times since the turn of the century and also clinched the 20-over trophy three times. It underlines our status as a leading and dominant South African franchise.

“The Cape Cobras are firmly committed to develop the hotspots of cricket in the townships and on the Cape Flats and to realize its dream of producing players from previously disadvantaged areas as future South African stars.” said Dien.

Chairman of the Western Cape Cricket Board, Mr. Angelo Carollisen said, “We both subscribe to three golden rules: Cherish customers and fans at all times, treat customers, players and fans as you would your best friends, and listen to clients, customers and players and decipher their needs. Ultimately both companies are a perfect fit because of Buildnat’s turnover and the Cape Cobras’ trophy cabinet and ability to consistently produce players who can represent the country.”

Booley said he wants to lure diehard-fans of the Cape Cobras and South Africa back to PPC Newlands and give young lovers of the game who cannot afford an international or domestic experience, the opportunity to see and touch their heroes.

But he also believes that two brand names that embrace, exude and breed excellence, will naturally inspire one other to even loftier heights.

“We trust this newly formed bond will foster the growth of BuildNat and the Cobras and fill the trophy cabinet while richly benefitting the community that is the lifeblood of cricket and construction,” Booley added.

 

The Cape Cobras have been boosted by the acquisition of two former international stars in senior roles at the home of Cape cricket. Ashwell Prince, a former South African stalwart who represented the Proteas in 66 tests, has been appointed as the Cobras’ assistant coach.

Alan Dawson, an admirable exponent of swing bowling who represented Western Province and the Cape Cobras for 15 years, has been picked as the Convenor of the Cape Cobras’ selection committee.

Prince resigned from the national selection committee to make himself available as assistant coach. He also recently fulfilled the role of batting consultant on tour with the South Africa A-team in Australia.

As a middle-order batsman, Prince forged a reputation as a defiant player whose dogged determination set him apart. He struck 900 runs at an average of 64.28 for South Africa in 2008. Following injury and a brief period on the side-lines, he celebrated his return to the South African team in 2009 by scoring 150 at PPC Newlands in the unfamiliar role of opening batsman.

Prince was internationally revered for his grit and single-minded pursuit of excellence. He played a pivotal role in South Africa’s rise to the number-1 position in the world under Graeme Smith’s captaincy.

Dawson captured 302 wickets in 98 first-class matches and was an exponent of the art of swing bowling in tandem with Charl Willoughby, Charl Langeveldt, Eric Simons and Craig Matthews.

He represented South Africa in two tests and 19 One Day Internationals, and was part of the South African team that reached the semi-finals at the Cricket World Cup in 1999.

His never-say-die-spirit, unwavering commitment to the team cause and brave-hearted performances endeared him to a legion of fans at PPC Newlands.

Dawson said his main focus would be consistency in selection and an open door policy to players.

He would like to assist in making Cape Cobras a domestic powerhouse and helping them to return to the summit of the logs.

He also believes in frankness and openness and liaising with former colleagues and members of the extended family of Cape Cobras players in assisting where needed to make the Cobras an even greater force.

Prince said his premier role would be to assist the Cobras in winning trophies again.

He is also determined to mentor the younger players in making the step up and to fulfil their potential, even propelling them to the international level.

Prince was philosophical about playing style. He said although he put a high price on his wicket, he won’t expect players in the Cape Cobras’ set-up to play similarly. He would rather see them express themselves in a way that does justice to their own characters.

Yet, they also have to assess the game situation accurately and play accordingly, he added.

Prince blasted his highest first-class score in his final first-class season and therefore doesn’t subscribe to the theory that players on the wrong side of 30 are necessarily one season away from retirement.

“Age is not a factor. The senior veterans in the Cape Cobras team have been around the block and they know what is required to achieve success. The most important characteristic is the motivation to reproduce the goods.

“I would like us as a team to play for one another and to work as a strong unit. It is a game of small margins, and when it is tight, the scales will tilt in the direction of the team with a strong cohesion,” he added.

Angelo Carolissen, chairman of the board of Western Cape Cricket, hailed the appointment of the two professionals. “It is great to have an iconic, world-class former player like Ashwell on board. He is a true professional and will add value to the support structure and performances of the team. His experience as a batting consultant is invaluable to the team.

“It is also great to have a former true blood Western Province star like Dawson involved in the structures. He was a wholehearted performer. His knowledge of the game and of the current crop of players would add value to the Cape Cobras,” he said.

Speed Kills is not only an important tag line in the Arrive Alive-campaign. It has also been the epitaph of hundreds of test batsmen who were victims of the express kings, Shoaib Akhar, Frank Tyson, Jeff Thomson and Michael Holding, four of the real pace merchants of all time.

Interestingly enough, the pace of the rejuvenated Cape Cobras’ and South African stalwart Vernon Philander has been identified as one of the main reasons for the improved form shown by the Ravensmead Wrecker in the test series against New Zealand.

Robin Peterson, a former South African left-arm spinner, said he had seen plenty of zip in Philanders’ performance in the second test against New Zealand at Super Sport Park. “Vernon will be a key bowler in the test series against Australia,” Peterson added.

Shaun Pollock, a former South African captain and still the record holder for the most test victims (421) in South African history, said: “Vernon looked back to top-form and showed what he can do. The quicker those skills (of moving the ball off the deck either way) happen, the better, and the more effective he is,” he said.

André Nel, a former South African fast bowler, said Philander bowled much faster than what he used to, as he operated at 133 and 134 kilometres per hour.

“He got zip off the seam and when he bowls at that pace, he is difficult to deal with. He reminds one a bit of Shaun Pollock. They both bowl with a wobbly seam and get late movement,” he added.

“He definitely bowled better than what I saw him perform the past year or so. His consistency was also a key factor in his performance at SuperSport Park, and he looked as if he had shed a bit of weight,” he added.

Philander captured 2-43 and 2-34. In the second innings, his dismissal of New Zealand’s finest batsman, Kane Williamson, was a pivotal moment in the match as South Africa romped to a 204-run win.

Although Philander will never be an express bowler, the importance of maintaining maximum speed cannot be underestimated, said Nel. “If he bowls in the mid-120’s, batsmen have enough time at test level to adjust, but not if he notches it up at 133 km/h,” he added.

When Philander operates at the peak of his considerable powers, he is difficult to deal with, as he demonstrated in his first 19 tests in which he took 100 wickets, with nine five-wicket hauls.

 

 

Fifty domestic wickets for the Cape Cobras, the continued development of the famed varieties of the Doosra and the Carrom and an attacking spirit without compromising the national team’s demands for balance, are part of Dane Piedt’s focus for the 2016/2017-season.

A lean-looking Piedt spoke at PPC Newlands after the test series against New Zealand.

The South African spinner applauded the South African approach in the test series against the Black Caps, saying the team encouraged him to be attacking.

“Obviously the batsmen will attempt to put pressure on you,” he said.

Piedt says he doesn’t feel the heat from other slow bowlers like Simon Harmer and Tabraiz Shamsi.

“It is test cricket and you already have so much pressure on the field. You don’t need to put pressure on yourself by focusing on how well other spinners do. If they perform better than me, than it is fine and they are selected.

“I must concentrate on being the best I can be,” he said.

Piedt said he is working on his varieties, the Doosra- and Carrom-balls, and he’s happy with both.

He learned the Carrom-variety from a 15-year old Indian net bowler on his second national spinning camp in India. The delivery, also known as the sodukku ball in parts of India, is released by flicking it between the thumb and a bent middle finger to impart spin. It usually turns away from the right-hander, but can also slide through straight.

But Piedt says he cannot bamboozle his colleagues AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla with that type of delivery. “No, they have played against Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan and Ravi Ashwin. They read it easily.

“I have learned so much from bowling against them in the nets. They play their natural game and will despatch me (if the delivery warrants it), so I have learned to change my angle and also vary my pace appreciably in order to peg them down,” he added.

Piedt captured 45 wickets in eight matches for the Cape Cobras two seasons ago, which included a hat-trick against the Dolphins in Paarl.

Last season he nipped out 39 batsmen.

The off-spinner is confident he can reach the 50-wicket milestone in 2016/2017, provided he plays a full domestic season.

But judging from his form against New Zealand, it is unlikely to happen. (He is unlikely to feature in a full domestic season, as he will be selected to represent South Africa at test level in the 2016/2017-season).

Piedt captured two wickets and ended with match-figures of 2-88 at an average of 44.

“The captain saw that I was spinning it appreciably and therefore requested me to attack,” he said.

“On flat pitches like in Zimbabwe and Australia I will use the doosra and Carrom-deliveries quite a lot, but when it is turning (like at SuperSport Park in the second test against New Zealand), I hardly employ it,” he added.

Asked about the role in the South African team, Piedt said when Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel are attacking from the other end, it is difficult to see him also fulfil the role of strike bowler. “But I will slip in the odd Carrom ball,” he added with a chuckle.

 

“I want to retire on my own terms,” was how the legendary former Australian test captain, Steve Waugh, articulated his desire to finish off his career.

The 36-year old Justin Ontong, current captain of the Cape Cobras in the limited-overs formats, has the same obsession, but adds that the emergence of talented young players like Jason Smith and Zubayr Hamza is great news for the Cape Cobras.

Ontong, the ultimate team man and a selfless warrior par excellence, said he will submit himself to whatever the management team decides if superior form by emerging players warrants their selection and he is forced to sit on the side-lines.

Yet, the attacking top-order stylist is clear about his own plans.  “I won’t surrender my own position in the team without a fight. I won’t just give up,” he said.

Ontong, who has blasted 10901 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 40.98, is one of the senior professionals amongst the specialist batsmen, while Andrew Puttick, who has struck 24 tons, is another veteran in the Cape champions’ squad.

The Cape Cobras skipper says the Cobras are blessed that the South Africa A-players in the squad and the players in the Proteas-squad are returning to the Mother City without any form of injury or niggles.

Probed about his own fitness, Ontong said when running on school fields that are a bit uneven, his knee has flared up slightly on occasion, but he has undergone physiotherapy and there is nothing to worry about.

Smith and Hamza have both displayed splendid form in the tri-series for the national academy and the University Sports South Africa X1.

Hamza averaged 69.80 and Smith struck 323 runs in the recent limited-overs tri-series also featuring the Sri Lankan Emerging Development team.

Both are making legitimate claims to places in the top-six, which will present the Cape Cobras management team with a healthy dilemma.

Stiaan van Zyl, who recently represented South Africa in the second test against New Zealand, and Omphile Ramela, who was a member of the South Africa A-squad Down Under, will return to the fray shortly.

“Both Smith and Hamza are stars of the future and they have my 100 percent backing,” Ontong said.

Yet, the sub text is revealing.  Ontong’s relaxed demeanour belies a fierce determination to score centuries and make himself a first-choice top-order stalwart.

 

AFTER four exciting seasons as headline sponsor of Cricket South Africa’s franchise T20 competition, Cricket South Africa and RAM Hand to Hand Couriers have agreed not to exercise an option to extend the sponsorship of the competition for a further two years.

With both parties having enjoyed an excellent relationship over the past four years, RAM and Cricket South Africa (CSA) are still in negotiation to continue their partnership in some other form.

“With a new domestic T20 League within our sights, regrettably we were not able to agree on the option to extend our current relationship,” said CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.

“Our initial agreement with RAM was for three years and we had last year agreed on a one-year extension which ended last season.

“We’ve seen the competition grow impressively and I must commend RAM for the wonderful innovations they introduced every year. Their energy contributed to us having a great commercial partner and I wish to take this opportunity to thank them for their support of cricket.

“I am sure we will continue our relationship in another form as RAM are passionate South Africans who wish to continue their involvement in cricket.” concluded Lorgat.

There have been many highlights in the RAM SLAM over the last 4 years including:

  • Catch a Million Competition
  • Big name international players participating
  • Global Television Coverage of the RAM SLAM
  • Increasing crowd attendance in 2013/2014 season and 2014/2015 season

David Lazarus, Executive Chairman of Ram, said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed co-creating and sponsoring the Ram Slam and we look forward to continuing our relationship with CSA going forward.”

This season’s competition will go ahead as planned commencing on 12 November 2016.