Ontong to lead Cobras
Justin Ontong, the Cape Cobras' new signing, has been named captain for the 2008-09 season, succeeding Justin Kemp, who is no longer available because of his involvement with the Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Ontong moves to the Cobras after leading the Lions last season. The allrounder worked his way back into South Africa's one-day squad earlier in the year and was part of the limited-overs leg of the England tour. Left-arm spinner Claude Henderson, Ontong's team-mate at the Lions, will also represent the Cobras this season.
Ontong will lead a squad that also includes internationals Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, JP Duminy, Monde Zondeki and Vernon Philander. Charl Langeveldt, who joined Derbyshire on a Kolpak contract this year, has also been included in the squad of 20. Wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile has been left out, and Ryan Canning will take charge behind the stumps. Shukri Conrad will coach the side, with Salieg Nackerdien as his deputy.
Conrad said the selection was based on talent, skill, motivation and promise. "With a number of individuals who have performed well over the past season, as well as new up and coming talent, this season is going to be one of promise and enjoyment," he said. The Cobras, who reached the semi-finals of the Pro20 and MTN Domestic Championship, the 45-over tournament, and finished third in the Supersport Series, will kick off their season against the Eagles in a SuperSport Series fixture in Kimberley October 2. They start their pre-season preparations with a tour and match against the Warriors and South West Districts in Oudtshoorn from 15-22 September.
WarriorsJacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Ashwell Prince are the new signings for the Warriors. The trio moved from the Cobras after a disagreement with Conrad, who left them out of the Cobras' squad for the final stages of the Pro20 competition. The Warriors will be captained by Zander de Bruyn, who led the team to the final of the MTN Domestic Championship. They finished second in the SuperSport Series, but were at the bottom of the table in the Pro20 . Davey Jacobs kept wicket for them last season. Nantie Hayward, who joined the ICL, has been left out.
DolphinsThe Dolphins' list of 16 contracted players includes batsman HD Ackerman, who played for the Warriors last season. Rookies David Miller and Bradley Barnes have been offered contracts as well. The Dolphins will be led by Ahmed Amla, brother of international player Hashim. The Dolphins have lost Shaun Pollock (now retired) along with Lance Klusener and Dale Benkenstein (both have ICL contracts). They qualified for the Champions Twenty20 League later this year after finishing second in the Pro20.
TitansAndre Nel is the notable omission from the 21-man squad announced by the Titans, the reigning current champions in both the MTN Championship and Pro20. There's also a change of leadership for the franchise with Pierre Joubert taking over as captain from Martin van Jaarsveld. The squad includes exciting international players such as Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers and the Morkel brothers, but they are unlikely to play much domestic cricket.
EaglesMickey Arthur, the South Africa coach, recently said he would try to lure back Ryan McLaren, on a Kolpak contract with Kent, who will play the limited-overs matches for the Eagles. Boeta Dippenaar, who announced his international retirement in January, will captain instead of Morne van Wyk, the wicketkeeper-batsman, who led the side last season, while Con de Lange moves from the Cobras. Jacques Rudolph, another Kolpak player, has been excluded, so has Johan van der Wath, who's on contract with the ICL. Contracts have been given to rookies Riley Rossouw and Mario Saliwa. The Eagles finished on top in the SuperSport Series, and reached the semi-finals of the limited-overs competitions.
LionsThe Lions haven't announced their squad, but there's speculation that Nel might join the franchise. Dave Nosworthy, the former Titans coach, has joined the Lions after returning to South Africa following his three-season stint in New Zealand with Canterbury. The Lions had a disappointing 2007-08, finishing last in the MTN Domestic Championship and the SuperSport Series, and fifth in the Standard Bank Pro20.