THE BuildNat Cape Cobras will be looking to a change of coach and captain for inspiration as they look to turn around their Sunfoil Series season against the bizhub Highveld Lions at the Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn on Thursday.
The domestic cricket season is resuming after a near three-week break for Christmas and New Year with a lot going on in that period at the Western Cape franchise.
Paul Adams has moved from his head coach post to the new position of Western Cape Cricket High Performance Manager and coach, with Ashwell Prince taking charge in a caretaker capacity. The former Proteas batsman will be assisted by Faiek Davids.
Dane Piedt is also the new interim captain until the end of the season, with the new trio left to try and pick up the pieces from what has been a wretched first half of the four-day campaign.
The Cobras are the only winless team in the completion, having lost three out of their five games and drawn the other two.
“We have been sub-standard so far this season,” Prince acknowledged ahead of the game. “What we need is that players perform up to the class they have displayed throughout their careers.
“The keys for us are simply improved performances.”
Prince, who was assistant to Adams earlier in the term, is also not ready to give up hope in the title race. “If we win against the Lions this weekend, we are just one victory away from the team that is at the top of the log,” he added. “And if we can win another one, we are back in the competition.”
Wayne Parnell has been released by the national team and available for selection, but Keegan Petersen has left the Cobras for the Knights.
The Lions, meanwhile, are likely to be without Eddie Leie due to injury.
Their coach Geoffrey Toyana is expecting a difficult assignment to start the year. “We’ve played well against the Cobras this season, but they’re a quality side,” he said, “if you look at the names in their squad.
“They’ve also made some big changes to their set-up and you have Ashwell Prince, he’s a veteran of Test cricket and I expect him and Faiek Davids to improve the Cobras.”
Apart from the match being a first for the new Cobras management, it is also the first for the venue. The Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn, which has hosted over 60 three-day first-class matches, is hosting its first franchise game ever.