Fast bowler Glenton Stuurman is looking forward to leading the Warriors’ attack when the 2020/21 domestic season finally gets going in the next three weeks.
Like every player across the country, the 28-year-old is itching to get back in the middle following possibly the longest off-season in history – a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But a return to the pitch is now in sight after Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced last Friday that the new campaign will launch on Monday, November 2, with the 4-Day Franchise Series.
“Everyone has been waiting so long just to be outside and be in a position to see each other physically and practising, so the release of the fixtures is the start of getting back to what we love to do…and that is to play cricket again,” Stuurman said.
“It’s a pity we still have to wait nearly three weeks, but everyone is just excited to get going. It’s always easier to prepare when you have finality and having that now in the form of fixed dates is wonderful. You can now visibly see everyone’s excitement. We’ve had enough of just training and training without an end goal. Now we have one that is November 2.”
Stuurman’s stock has been gradually rising over the past 12 months due to his on-field performances for the Eastern Cape franchise. His displays for the Warriors even saw him included in a recent national camp, suggesting that he is amongst those players earmarked for higher honours in the future.
The Oudtshoorn-born seamer is still establishing himself in franchise cricket, where he has played 10 games and grabbed 35 wickets. But with two key fast bowlers – Sisanda Magala and Lutho Sipamla – having left Port Elizabeth in the off-season, Stuurman will be key to coach Robin Peterson’s plans.
“It was a massive loss obviously, losing Lutho and Sisanda,” he said. “But in saying that, I’m actually excited about what we have at the franchise.
“We have two left-arm quicks (Stefan Tait and Marco Jansen) and there’s not too many of those in South Africa. Both are still young as well, so although it’s a big loss, we’re really excited what these new guys are bringing to the table.
“My role is just to try and lead the attack from the start, trying to be an example for the others.
“I’m going to have to be consistent, which is the plan. I know I’m going to have to step up and do a lot of bowling, but I believe I am ready for that and excited about it.
“Ultimately I want to be a match-winner for the side. We also mustn’t forget that there is still Basheer Walters in the mix. He is going to be the key man for experience and will be vital to the Warriors.”
The Warriors also do have Anrich Nortje on their books, but his Indian Premier League (IPL) commitments and potential Proteas selection mean he is unlikely to feature much for the Warriors.
“Anrich is a superstar,” said Stuurman. “The way he’s bowling at the moment, he is going to need a break when he’s back. But we have to plan without him and if he does play then that will be a bonus.”
As for his own fitness, the fast bowler says he has never been in such peak physical shape. “I might have joked the other day saying I’ve never been so fit, but again that is physical,” he says. “But then when we started playing pre-season games against each other then you actually realise that you not yet cricket fit and only still running fit. You still have to get into the match groove where you can reach your bowling peaks.”
The Warriors begin the season with a trip to Bloemfontein to face the VKB Knights. There are only seven rounds in the competition this year as opposed to 10 in the past, although there is a five-day final scheduled for February 25-March 1. It means there is little room for error.
“Less games does mean that everyone has to be on top from ball one of the first game,” Stuurman adds. “Sometimes you may get a game or two just to find your feet, but this time with the season being shorter you have to hit the ground running from the outset.”