Hamza takes over the franchise captaincy from USA-bound Dane Piedt who led the side with aplomb during his tenure and Prince is backing his new captain to stamp his own authority on the team.
“I’m really looking forward to working side-by-side with Zubayr, as he takes charge of an exciting group of players. He has done the job on a part-time basis last season and besides the fact that he’s a top-class batsman, he has displayed real leadership qualities. More than just leading from the front with the bat, he’s an astute thinker and real student of the game. There’s a genuine care factor about the rest of his team-mates, and I think because of that he will enjoy every bit of support from the rest of the squad, and of course management. I also feel that we have we have a number of hungry, talented and highly motivated individuals, such as the Malan brothers [Pieter and Janneman], [Kyle] Verreynne, [new signing Tony] de Zorzi, and [George] Linde, who all have displayed good leadership qualities that he’ll be able to call upon out on the field.”
Hamza, 25-years-old, with 63 first-class games, 45 List A matches and 19 T20s to his name, is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead: “Firstly, I want to thank the Cobras management for putting their faith in me as the captain, it goes without saying that it’s an honour and a privilege. I want to thank my predecessor Dane Piedt and the former captains who came before me, the likes of JP Duminy, Rory Kleinveldt, Justin Ontong, Andrew Puttick etc, who I have played under and who taught me the importance and privilege which comes with leading this proud franchise. We have an extremely exciting squad this coming season and even though I have my own style of leadership, there’s quite a number of guys who have strong leadership qualities that I’d be able to lean on for assistance and advice throughout the season. We have created quite a positive atmosphere throughout the team and have been putting in a high standard of work for the past couple of months, which has been really impressive. We are all excited for the upcoming season.”
Western Cape Cricket interim CEO Albertus Kennedy endorsed the decision to appoint the top order batsman who has 5 Test matches under his belt: “Zubayr has shown that he thrives on responsibility and during last year’s Momentum One Day Cup campaign, he began his captaincy journey by leading from the front. He knows what is expected of him and his team this coming season as we enter a new era of Cape Cobras cricket and we are looking forward to see this team grow and be successful under his leadership.”
Western Cape Cricket Chairman Angelo Carolissen conveyed his best wishes to the squad: “On behalf of the Board of Western Cape Cricket, we want to wish Ashwell, his new Captain Zubayr and the entire squad of players and management, every success for the coming season, we know that you will represent the franchise with great pride.”
In other appointments at the Cape Cobras, Barney Mohammed has been confirmed as convenor of selectors for the season and Hamza's fellow UWC alumnus Romano Ramoo has been appointed as the team video analyst.
Ramoo, 33, was selected for SA Schools in both hockey and cricket in 2004 before going on to represent South Africa at the 2006 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. A batsman and occasional seam bowler, Ramoo's senior playing career took in both Western Province and Border (from 2008-14). In the meantime, he obtained a BCom Information Systems degree at UWC - and featured for both the cricket and hockey clubs - before completing his honours after he ended his playing career. Most recently, Ramoo completed an MA Sports Recreation and Exercise Science majoring in Performance Analysis, and worked as a Information Technology Technical Assistant - both at UWC.
Article and main image courtesy Cape Cobras Media.