If the coach was grumpy or the player was accustomed to licking past wounds, Junior Dala would probably not have been selected for the South Africa ‘A’ tour to England.
In the first Momentum One Day Cup match of the season, the right-armer suffered at the hands of Rob Frylinck who smashed 54 off 20 balls as Hollywoodbets Dolphins chased down 325 to secure an opening win by five wickets.
The Titans eventually won the 50-over domestic showpiece in comprehensive fashion, coasting to a 236-run win against the Warriors.
“The coach came up to me after the match against the Dolphins and said I don’t need to worry, because it was just one bad over,” said Dala.
The 27-year-old fast bowler atoned for that mistake by capturing a career-best 3-21 in his next match against the bizhub Highveld Lions.
The Lions slipped from 33 without loss to 53 for five with Dala and Eldred Hawken the catalysts in the Titans 109-run victory.
Dala finished the season as the leading wicket-taker with 16 wickets at an average of 18.68, improving on last season's economy-rate and average in taking 16 wickets.
He said his role and the management by captain Albie Morkel and coaches Mark Boucher and Mandla Mashimbyi added to his good performances.
“Albie said to me before the season started that I will probably play a senior role.
“Mark said to me with my unorthodox action I am likely to get it wrong sometimes, but I should not worry about it; I am a strike bowler and I must take wickets. Those words were comforting,” Dala said.
“I think the Mandla and Mark added about 15 % to every player in terms of motivation and performance by the way they managed us.”
Dala said he harboured high hopes to get into the SA ‘A’ squad in the one-day matches but was surprised he got the call-up for the four-day campaign.
“In amateur cricket I was always seen as the man who took wickets, but it took me time to improve in the Sunfoil Series. This season I felt better, although the results did not reveal it. I want to build on that in the four-day series in England,” added Dala.