CAPE TOWN – Anyone who had pitched up at Newlands on last week’s public holiday would have been forgiven for thinking they had gone back in time.
Maybe not as trim as in their youth, but there was Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt opening the bowling for the Cobras in the One-Day Cup. The duo have walked a long road together, starting together as fresh-faced youngsters under then Cobras coach Shukri Conrad almost 15 years ago.
Even though the years of trudging along on the first-class treadmill are starting to show, they remain a formidable pairing, as they had the Knights 9/3 in the first five overs with subtle seam movement and a bit of nip off the pitch.
“It was pretty awesome,” Kleinveldt said of sharing the new ball with his old mate once more. “It was good fun at Newlands. Vernon is world class. He is so dangerous with the new ball. He gets movement off the wicket like no-one else. Hopefully we can do it again on Wednesday at Centurion.”
Kleinvleldt, 36, certainly seems to be enjoying the twilight of his career. Blessed with a loving wife, Rehana Henry – daughter of former Proteas left-arm spinner Omar Henry – and two children, Kleinveldt is ready to slow down.
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He called time on his first-class career earlier this season and his focus now is on helping the current group of talented young Cobras win some silverware. The veteran seamer is playing his part, having claimed a maiden five-for against the Knights and is the team’s leading bowler in the competition with 12 scalps at the miserly average of 16.91.
“I have enjoyed the white-ball stuff. I am still bowling well, just keeping it a lot simpler than when I was younger, trying to be as consistent as I possibly can. Hopefully on a day that it’s doing a bit up front, I can take a couple. But when the wicket is flat, I also try to contain the runs,” he said ahead of today’s semi-final against the Titans.
“We need two big performances. It would be awesome, especially after what happened in the four-day comp. It would be great for this group to get that monkey off their back. It would be good for the youngsters to have that experience of winning a trophy. It is still a long way to go, but hopefully we can take a step towards that.”
Kleinveldt will hope to be at his best against a Titans line-up packed with internationals. Proteas Dale Steyn, Tabraiz Shamsi, Junior Dala and Aiden Markram are all available for today’s play-off, with the latter expected to feature in a batting line-up that also contains Dean Elgar and new South African List A record-holder Theunis de Bruyn.
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