Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Morne van Wyk has stepped down as captain of the Dolphins franchise, making way for middle-order batsman Khaya Zondo to take over. Van Wyk will continue playing for the franchise, who have recently had to say goodbye to senior batsman Daryn Smit, who is relocating to the UK.
Van Wyk took over at the Dolphins in the 2013-14 summer, when he moved to Durban from Bloemfontein. He led them to their first standalone cup of the franchise era, when they won the domestic T20 competition that season but has also overseen a period of transition which started when Lance Klusener's contract was not renewed last year. Klusener's departure also saw Dolphins lose two of their premier international players. Kyle Abbott moved to Warriors - and has since gone Kolpak - while David Miller went to Knights, as Dolphins began this season with a depleted squad and a new coach in Grant Morgan.
They have not had any real success - finishing fifth in the T20 challenge and fourth in the first-class competition - but several players are putting in strong individual performances. Keshav Maharaj has earned promotion to South Africa's Test squad, and Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Zondo were second and third on the first-class batting charts. With one competition, the domestic one-day cup, still to come, they have high hopes of changing their fortunes.
Van Wyk believes they have what it takes to win trophies, especially under a new leader. "I have been so privileged to captain the side for four years. I have seen some tremendous growth from players on and off the field over the past four seasons and I think that the timing is right," he said. "Khaya has really come into his own and taken on the responsibility that he has been given this season well and I am excited to see him grow as a leader."
Zondo captained the Dolphins in their last two first-class matches of the season, something van Wyk said has been brewing since he joined the franchise. "I spoke to Khaya about the captaincy just four months after I arrived here so it is something that I think has been in the making for a number of years," he said. It's not a surprise then that van Wyk has offered Zondo his full support.
"I am hopefully going to be around for another two or three seasons so I am here to offer Khaya support and guidance if he needs it," van Wyk said. "I'm not going to be looking over his shoulder all the time, in fact I am actually going to take a step back. If he needs advice I will be a shoulder to lean on but it's his ship to run now."