CAPE Cobras batsman Janneman Malan has poured fuel on the fire to set up an explosive opening 4-Day Domestic encounter against the Titans, starting at Newlands on Monday.
Malan, speaking at the launch of the Cobras and Newlands’ new sponsor, believes there will be “no pressure on us” because “we’re playing our A team”. The dashing right-hander was, of course, making reference to Titans coach Mandla Mashimbyi lighting the touchpaper last week when he referred to the Cobras as the “Titans B team”.
“We will both be playing for the victory, so it is going to be hard battle,” Malan told IOL Sport. “But there is no pressure on us because we’re playing our ‘A’ team. So we’re looking forward to keeping them busy in the middle.”
The Cobras will certainly be looking towards Malan, and his older brother and opening partner Pieter, to keep their visitors from up north “busy in the middle”. The Malan brothers have been prolific run-getters for the Cobras in four-day cricket the past few seasons, with Janneman accumulating 1 079 runs in 15 matches at 43.16, while Pieter has amassed 1 972 at 45.86 in 27.
The national selectors rewarded big brother’s Pieter’s consistency with a Test call-up for the home England series last year. Janneman also represented the Proteas last season, albeit in white-ball cricket with him adding a further three ODI caps to his previous two T20 Internationals.
Janneman’s first-class numbers clearly, though, suggests he should not be pigeon-holed as a limited-overs cricketer purely because he plays with more attacking intent than Pieter.
“It’s all about getting the job done. You can look pretty and get nothing, and you can look ugly and get runs. I think performances speak for themselves. The rest is what it is,” he said.
This philosophical approach has certainly stood the 24-year-old in good stead thus far in his fledgling career. After initial concerns he struggled against top-quality spin, he showed during the Mzansi Super League and in the Australian series, where he struck a century in the second match against the Aussies in Bloemfontein, that when he takes on a task, anything is possible.
“It is one of those things that can turn into complex if focus is only put on that. You can over-think and it only see the negative things. There are technical limits … let’s say towards spin … but don’t let that get too much into your head where you’re overthinking and be stuck. It’s obviously technical, but mental as well,” he said.
“I feel everybody is good enough if they apply themselves mentally they can have success. If they prepare good enough, they can have success at the top. But it’s about hard work and being in a good space mentally. I obviously got a bit of confidence, but I now I need to continue to work hard because now I know I can do it, but I just need to go out and do it.”