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CLT20 Staff in Johannesburg

We’ll cope without our star players: van Jaarsveld

Titans captain and coach are confident that young players will step up at CLT20

This edition of the CLT20 is a special one for the Titans. They qualified for the 2008 season, which eventually got cancelled and now they have a chance to make a mark on this tournament with the advantage of playing in home conditions.

Despite losing out on some of their star players – Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel and Faf du Plessis – to their respective IPL teams and AB de Villiers to lower back and ankle injuries the Titans are determined to make the most of this opportunity.

“From our point of view, we’re used to playing without our star players when they play at the international level and we’ve managed to do well without them,” Mathew Maynard, the Titans coach, said.  “We’ve got to show the same resolve right through this tournament as well. It’s important that the players we have play to their potential.”

The stars may be missing but according to captain Martin van Jaarsveld, there’s still a lot of quality in the side. van Jaarsveld especially singled out young all-rounder David Wiese as the one to watch out for, even foreseeing him developing in the mould of Albie Morkel.

“David Wiese is a fantastic all-rounder and we’re nursing him to one day step up to Albie Morkel’s level. He bowls at a decent pace and can hit a real long ball. He probably stands out for us,” the skipper said.

One aspect that sets the Titans apart from most teams in the competition is the number of all-rounders in the team, led by the very experienced Roelof van der Merwe. The captain surely believes this is an ace up his sleeve.

“As a captain it’s good to have so many all-rounders in the team. As a captain when you look around the field, there are so many options that you see, which is what you want in T20.”

In the absence of de Villiers, van Jaarsveld has to rethink of the right balance in the team and one option is promoting van der Merwe up the batting order.

“We’re still weighing out our combinations – whether to use him at the top of the order or he’s going to be more valuable down the order. If he comes up and gets 70-plus, you know you have great chance of winning the game. He was really effective with the ball last summer up front and at the death.”

Despite the standard of cricket going several notches higher in the CLT20, coach Maynard believes the right way ahead for the Titans is not to alter their game too much and stick to the formula that has made the Titans a successful team at the domestic level. “It’s important that we play the brand of cricket that’s synonymous with the Titans and that’s aggressive cricket. Within that, we also have to be disciplined in our approach,” the coach said.

While speaking of his young team, Maynard also acknowledged the massive impact playing in a tournament like CLT20 can have on their careers.

“The exposure of CLT20 is excellent for all the teams. It is a competition that all domestic teams want to be part of, not just because of the revenue but also the exposure that they get here playing at a huge stage and through television.”

For the 38-year-old van Jaarsveld, whose international career couldn’t stretch beyond nine Tests and 11 ODIs, CLT20 is an opportunity to still compete at the highest level against the best in the business.

“This is the closest I’m ever going to get to a similar type of competition like the IPL. For me at this age to still go out there and play against some of the best players in the world is a great challenge and I’m sure there are a lot of guys in our team who feel the same. This is our time at the international stage and we’re really looking forward to it.”

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