Mickey Arthur, South Africa's coach, is happy with the performances of national players in the SuperSport Series, the first-class domestic competition, which began this month.
Cricket South Africa released its contracted players on a phased-in basis for the tournament and already in the first week and a half several of them featured high on the runs and wickets table.
Neil McKenzie and Jean-Paul Duminy got centuries for the Lions and the Cape Cobras respectively, while Makhaya Ntini took seven wickets, including a first-innings haul of 5 for 9, in the Warriors win over the Eagles. For the Titans, Morne Morkel took six against the Cape Cobras while brother Albie, who picked up a shoulder injury in England in June, scored a half-century and took a wicket as well.
"It was particularly pleasing to see McKenzie opening the batting for the Lions as this is where he plays for the Test squad," Arthur said. "Another encouraging sign was to see Albie Morkel having his first bowl of the season after his troublesome shoulder injury. He is exactly where we want him to be in terms of his preparation for the ODI squad. Lonwabo Tsotsobe was also impressive for the Warriors and he is one of the players outside the contracted group whom we will be looking at during our training camp later this month." Tsotobe, the 24-year-old left-arm fast-medium bowler, took seven wickets from the first two matches of the season.
The Warriors-Titans match, starting Thursday, could feature two of the strongest XIs in the competition for the Titans have five centrally contracted players - AB De Villiers, Albie, Morne, Paul Harris, Dale Steyn - and the Warriors have six - Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis, Ntini, Ashwell Prince, Robin Peterson. But Steyn's availability for the match is still doubtful since he has been struggling for the past week with an attack of sinusitis.