Even from Faraway New Zealand, It's Clear Odendaal Has to Step in at Cobras

Cape Times (South Africa), March 21, 2012 | Go to article overview

Even from Faraway New Zealand, It's Clear Odendaal Has to Step in at Cobras


FOLLOWING cricket matches via live online scoreboards has its advantages. It allows for people like me, who are down in "middle earth", to keep track of matches elsewhere around the world. Motion pictures would be wonderful, but New Zealand is not India, where every game of cricket under the sun is televised.

And that's how I have been following the Cape Cobras' Twenty20 campaign. Getting up in the wee hours of the morning, switching on my laptop and following the scoreboards as they are updated. What scoreboards can't show you, unfortunately, is the body language of the players, no matter how vividly Klaus-Peter Mnch describes the fall of a wicket or provides colour in his commentary for Cricinfo.

I have therefore had to rely on updates from various people and constant telephone calls home to find out how the defending champions have managed to not even finish in the top three.

From the outset, I would like to say there have been mitigating factors that were always going to hold back the Cobras. The non-availability of Brad Hogg, Herschelle Gibbs and captain Justin Kemp at the beginning of the campaign left the team without major experience, especially with the national players unavailable due to being in New Zealand. The untimely discovery of substance abuse by Rory Kleinveldt also did the Cobras no favours at all.

However, the manner in which left-handed batsman Stiaan van Zyl responded to the challenge at the top of the order showed the depth the Cobras do have, and also how players, especially the younger ones, respond when faith is shown in their abilities.

My biggest concern with this Twenty20 campaign has been the lack of team spirit over the last couple of months. Although I have been away from Cape Town, conversations with various people related to the Cobras camp and discussions with fellow journalists and administrators, have convinced me the Cobras are anything but a united team.

The Cobras have been the most successful franchise for the last couple of years in South Africa, since winning the Pro20 and SuperSport Series in Shukri Conrad's last two years at the helm in Cape Town. …

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Even from Faraway New Zealand, It's Clear Odendaal Has to Step in at Cobras
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