CAPE TOWN – Cape Cobras captain Zubayr Hamza believes the new first-class structure could add a great deal more competitiveness to the 4-Day Domestic series.
The new format sees the six franchises split into two groups of three with each team playing seven matches instead of the usual 10 on a home and away basis. This season also sees the return of a final to be contested by the two sides finishing top of their respective groups.
Previously slow starting teams could catch up during the season, but now due to the truncated nature of the competition each side will need to be on point from the outset.
“I understand the changes that have been made, but personally I want to see us play as much cricket as possible. I’m not sure how this will turn out, playing three teams once, ” Hamza said.
“It will mean that every game is going to count more and perhaps it will up the competition in terms of playing competitive games and looking for results in each and every round.
“Hopefully it will spark more exciting cricket in the four-day comp just because you have to be on top from the start.”
The opening rounds will certainly be competitive with high-quality cricket expected due to the all the Proteas being available bar the ones competing in the Indian Premier League.
Equally, all the players will be eager to dust off the cobwebs after an elongated off season due to Covid-19 enforced lockdown.
“Having the Proteas available will be good for everyone, whether it’s the guy making his debut, for the guy who has been playing just franchise cricket for many years, it’s just going to benefit everyone,” he said.
“The competitiveness will be high, I have no doubt about that, and having the regular Proteas will definitely strengthen all the teams and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’m sure every cricketer around the country is just waiting to be cut loose. All those competitive juices have been canned up for quite some time.
“We’ve all just been sitting and waiting for something to happen. When the fixtures came out it was not just excitement, but more of relief that we can now get stuck into our work after that long wait and get the ball rolling again.”
Having replaced the charismatic Dane Piedt, who opted to further his career in the United States, as captain of the Cobras, Hamza is also hoping he discovers that magic trophy winning formula that has eluded the Western Cape side over the last few seasons.
“We’ve had a few tough years when we came close to winning titles, but it just never happened,” he said.
“Hopefully I can draw on those experiences, and along with a few of the other experienced players with leadership qualities in the squad, we’ll be able to take that extra step now this season.”