The Northerns Titans sang long and heartily to celebrate their remarkable triumph in the CSA 4-Day Series, but coach Mandla Mashimbyi is not the sort to grab the mike and do a solo. It is 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 effort 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 bind 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 have put a lot in place since then and the team responded beautifully. Whenever we needed them to, they came through nicely.
“My responsibility was to keep the players believing, even when the Lions had a massive lead, and they responded brilliantly.”
Considering the powerhouse outfit they were before Mashimbyi replaced Mark Boucher in December 2019, and the new-look team they now field, Titans cricket is certainly in a healthy space.
Their batting was superb throughout the campaign, with nine players averaging more than 40, Heinrich Klaasen topping the averages with 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 while Lizaad Williams was available for only two matches due to injury and Proteas call-ups, he topped the averages with 10 wickets at 12.60.
“Heinrich returned to us from the Proteas with a really good attitude and Grant Mokoena can now see his name up at the upper end of the best performers,” Mashimbyi said.
“Grant has always shown potential, but to come out and do what he has done is unbelievable for him. He understands his game now, and he does his own things, but it works for him.
“Lizaad came back with a lot of heart and passion, and he really brought fight. The pace bowlers and Simon Harmer were magnificent as a unit.”