With a new coach, Grant Morgan, at the helm, Dolphins will now turn their attention to bolstering a depleted squad, ahead of the 2016-17 season. The Durban-based franchise lost both active internationals, Kyle Abbott and David Miller, as well as four other players - Jonathan Vandiar, Daniel Sincuba, Matthew Pillans and Ayavuya Myoli - and have only added one name to their outfit so far.
Mthokozisi Shezi, who was playing in Cobras but is originally from Dolphins, will return for the next season and CEO Pete de Wet hopes he will not be their only acquisition. "We've got some work to do in the next 24 hours with some discussion with potential players," de Wet said at Morgan's unveiling. "In an ideal world, we would have had Grant involved with identifying the squad right from the beginning. The core nucleus of the squad is the same but there are a few potential announcements we want to make and we wanted to do that with Grant around."
But de Wet was forced to admit that with the other five franchises' contract lists all but complete, it could make it difficult for the Dolphins to lure high-profile names to their waters and they may have to fish in their own pond. That would mean promoting players from the KwaZulu-Natal and KwaZulu-Natal Inland provincial teams.
"It hasn't been easy," de Wet said. "I am of the belief that the squad that we have is really talented and there is a lot of depth. The challenge for Grant will be to get the best of that group of individuals in the next season and to get settled in the role and then to take a slightly longer-term view and see where the deficiencies are and who we need to potentially target and bring in for the following season."
Morgan is not too unhappy with that prospect, especially because he is familiar with the Inland players. He was the team's head coach since the 2012-13 season, leading them to four trophies in that time. He wants to be able to incorporate more players from Pietermaritzburg into the Dolphins set-up. "We have to make that side of the franchise feel like they are also part of it. When I was there, we did feel like it but we need to do it even more. Although Kingsmead and Durban is our main base, we need to make 'Maritzburg our home too," Morgan said.
That may mean players like Kyle Nipper, who was second on the provincial three-day competition run charts and Graeme Hume, who was third on the wicket-taker's list in that format, could come into contention for more regular roles at the franchise. It will also mean Morgan has to keep his eye open for younger talent, something he takes particular pleasure in.
"I picked Quinton de Kock in my Gauteng side when he was 15 and a half years old," Morgan recalled. "We were playing a game against Durham when he faced Steve Harmison. When Quinton walked off the field the score was 85 for 1 and he had made 72. That was one of the greatest days of my life, to watch a guy who hadn't yet turned 16 cane an international bowler. Hopefully we will have one of those."
At the same time, Morgan also wants to call on some of the Dolphins' experienced players like Morne van Wyk to add gravitas to a squad in transition. "If a guy is 44 and he is still delivering and he wants to play and he is the best guy for the team, then he must play," he said.
If that's not enough, Morgan has also been told he is expected to win some silverware with a franchise that has not seen as much success as it has liked. The Dolphins' only franchise trophy was won in the 2013-14 season when the won the 20-over cup, and they previously shared the first-class title twice. "It's daunting but every job should be daunting. Every job is your World Cup," he said.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent