The Northerns Titans sang long and heartily to celebrate their remarkable triumph in the CSA 4-Day Series, but Coach Mandla Mashimbyi isn’t the type to grab the mic and do a solo. It’s just not his style, and his coaching is the same, with the former pace bowler praising a team effort for their first trophy since 2018/19.
“It was a great performance from the boys as a collective. It was a team effort,” Mashimbyi said after his side secured the domestic first-class title on Monday.
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“Trophies are always nice to have, but the process of rebuilding the team started two years ago. It usually takes three years for the players to become attached to your philosophies, so we are in the middle of that process,” he added.
“We didn’t start this competition as well as we would have liked, but we’ve put a lot in place since then and the team responded beautifully. When we needed them, they came through.
“It was my responsibility to make the players believe, even when the Lions had a huge lead, and they responded brilliantly.”
Given the powerhouse they were before Mashimbyi replaced Mark Boucher in December 2019, and the new team they are now drafting, Titans cricket is certainly in healthy space.
Their batting was stellar throughout the campaign, with nine players averaging over 40, Heinrich Klaasen leading the averages at 84.75 and Grant Mokoena the leading run scorer with 482 runs at 48.20.
Simon Harmer led the bowling with 44 wickets – the most in the competition – and he was well supported by the seam bowlers, and although Lizaad Williams was only available for two matches due to injury and Proteas calls, he topped the 10 wickets averages at 12.60. .
“Heinrich came back to us from the Proteas with a really good attitude and Grant Mokoena can now see his name at the top of the top performing players,” said Mashimbyi.
“Grant has always shown potential, but to come out and do what he’s done is incredible for him. He understands his game now, and he’s doing his own things, but it works for him.
“Lizaad came back with a lot of heart and passion, and he brought real struggle. The pace bowlers and Simon Harmer were magnificent as a unit.”