Phangiso to lead the Highveld Lions in the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge
Proteas limited overs left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso will lead the Highveld Lions in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge‚ which starts on Friday with a clash between Warriors and the Knights at St George`s Park at 6pm.
Phangiso‚ who has played 21 ODIs and 15 T20s for South Africa since he made his debut in 2012‚ will lead the Lions for the second successive campaign after he helped them to the play-offs last season.
The Lions start their campaign with a tasty local derby against the Titans in a game that is part of a double header that includes the Cobras against the Dolphins at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday.
“We have been training hard and we know that we have a good team‚ and all the international players are back‚” said Phangiso at Wanderers Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
“This is a different competition.
"On paper the Titans are probably the best team in the country at the moment but with the amount of work that we have been doing for the last two weeks or so‚ we are hoping to compete and give them a good run."
Having managed to lead the Lions to the semifinals last season‚ Phangiso said he learned some important lessons as a leader.
“I gave it my all last season but on that day in the semifinals we did not play a great game.
"Our batting let us down a little bit but this year we have strengthened our batting line-up.
"Also with the ball I have more options this year because as a captain it is always good.
"I will have six guys who can bowl outright and we all know that in T20s someone can get hit, you must have backup.
"Last year we always picked five bowlers where all of them had to bowl four overs and if one of them had a bad day we had to suck it up and carry on but this year I have the luxury.”
The Proteas players will be taking part in the tournament this year and Phangiso says their presence will motivate the younger players.
“You want to play against the best and I think Cricket South Africa (CSA) took a great decision by availing all the international players for this tournament so that a lot of youngsters coming in can measure themselves against some of the best in the world.
"We are happy to challenge those kinds of guys‚” he said.
The Lions welcome Kagiso Rabada back to their fold and coach Geoffrey Toyana said he would add a lot of value on and off the field because of the experience he has gained with the Proteas.
Lions squad for the Ram Slam T20 Challenge:
Aaron Phangiso (capt)‚ Rassie van der Dussen‚ Reeza Hendricks‚ Mangaliso Mosehle‚ Dwaine Pretorius‚ Nicholas van der Berg‚ Wiaan Mulder‚ Kagiso Rabada‚ Marques Ackerman‚ Omphile Ramela‚ Bjorn Fortuin‚ Beuran Hendricks‚ Hardus Viljoen‚ Ryan Rickleton‚ Wihan Lubbe‚ Carmi le Roux and Janneman Malan.