Johannesburg – MI Cape Town provided evidence in the inaugural SA20 season that sporting contests are never decided on paper.
The Newlands-based team were blessed with an abundance of superstars – both South African and international – and a coaching staff that was littered with legends in all departments. And yet they won just three out of their 10 matches that saw them rooted to the basement of the standings.
For a team that is blessed with the amount of riches they have at their disposal, it has been an unmitigated disaster of a first season. The only consolation for MI Cape Town is that their parent team, Mumbai Indians, suffered a similar fate in the maiden IPL season before forging a dynasty that has seen them become the most successful side in the history of that tournament with five titles.
Such thoughts are far off right now though, with plenty of consideration required in regards to the make-up of the leadership group. For all the team’s on-field failures, it has become apparent that having a foreign coach in Australian Simon Katich and foreign captain in Afghan Rashid Khan has led to a lack of understanding of the SA players and conditions.
Both are fine individuals with plenty of experience in both their respective capacities, but in the maiden SA20 season the importance of having SA intellect has been crucial.
MI Cape Town have suffered as a result, and especially a young batting unit whose inexperience has shown particularly at the coast where the majority of matches were played.
“We had a tough year. But you can’t change your cricket, you can’t change your skills, you’ve got to keep believing in yourself, keep trying your best, for the team,” Rashid said after MI Cape Town’s defeat to Joburg Super Kings on Monday.
“We wanted to go out and express ourselves, make it count, but it didn’t work (for us). The season didn’t go our way, but there are lots of things we learned, and we’ll take some positives from it, and come back next year stronger and smarter.”
Rashid was loath to lay the blame at the door of the youngsters and instead focused on the lack of delivery from the senior core of players.
Proteas top-order batter Rassie van der Dussen was the team’s top run-scorer with 243 runs at an average 30.37, while Dewald Brevis was next-best with 235 runs at average 26.11.
Kagiso Rabada, meanwhile, topped the wicket-takers list with 11 scalps, followed by Jofra Archer with 10.
“We only had one 70 in the batting, but I thought the bowlers did a good job,” Rashid said.
“We were clear with the youngsters from the beginning, that they should go out and express themselves. We never put pressure on anyone …
“We told players to stick to their talents, to enjoy their skills; there were no big expectations. The responsibility was on the seniors; the youngsters had the freedom to play.
“It’s never easy coming into a new competition. This is a new franchise and it will take a couple years for everyone to get used to it … and they’ll score runs in time.”
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