Proteas have all bases covered and going for the win
With three days to go before the opening game of the Over-50s World Cup, Proteas Veterans vice-captain Mario Solomons is clear in his message - he wants to win the tournament, and he feels they have the players to do just that.
The South Africans are among the tournament favourites and they have been putting in the hard yards - both on and off the field - to give themselves the best chance of success.
“Since the quadrangular series [at the end of last year] the guys have really worked hard on their fitness,” Solomons says. “You can see on the WhatsApp group that the guys are committed and playing a lot of cricket – not just veterans, but also club cricket in the lower leagues.
“If I look at our top six batsmen, all of them have scored a 100 in the last five weeks, so the form is looking good. The energy in the team is great at the moment and the guys are fitter than ever.
“I’m a marathon runner so my fitness is good and I’ve been working hard on my keeping and batting. For the last four weeks I’ve been playing for the second team at Kuilsriver, scoring four 50s in five games, so I feel really good as well.”
Solomons and captain Louis Koen have a tough task managing workloads of Over-50s in a two-week tournament, but he says their strong relationship means there won’t be any problems.
“Louis and I chat regularly” ‘Solly’ adds. “Since the Interprovincial Tournament, Louis and I have become great friends. That’s the beauty of cricket … you play hard but you also make friends for life. Our relationship is really top class.”
And rather than being put off by the favourites tag, Solomons is embracing it - and he feels they have the squad to follow through.
“Listen, I want to win this thing,” he says confidently. “We have a good, balanced team. We have some top-class allrounders and if I look at our bowling attack, guys like Alan [Dawson] and James [Albanie] can still play franchise cricket.
“Then there are allrounders like Goolam [Taliep] and Saleem [Mukaddem] – Saleem also scored a 100 recently and took a lot of wickets – and our spinners, Cookie Wilson and Clive Eksteen … these guys can turn the ball on glass. There’s Lefty Ngece, another good left-arm spinner, so all in all we have the bases covered.”
The Proteas Veterans are in Division B of the Over-50 World Cup, which is once again being sponsored by Evergreen Lifestyle. They face India on Monday, before games against Pakistan, Wales, Namibia, England and UAE.
About Evergreen Lifestyle
Established in 2008, Evergreen Lifestyle is South Africa’s premium retirement brand with seven operating villages in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and a further six in the pipeline. The business began with a vision to change the retirement landscape in South Africa, offering a partnership for life based on five key pillars: physical security, financial peace of mind, continuous care, a sense of community and exceptional hospitality.
You’ll find Evergreen’s award-winning retirement villages in the most beautiful parts of the country, at the end of sun-dappled country lanes, perched on majestic mountain slopes, and within walking distance of our beaches, rivers, and wetlands. And you’ll find vibrant fun-loving communities enjoying the finer things in life – like good food, great company, lasting friendships, and a sense of belonging that is enabled by the resort style facilities and amenities on offer.