EASTERN Province open their CSA Provincial three-day cricket campaign against North West in Potchefstroom today determined to prove a point after a disappointing 2012-13 season.
Under coach Chris Esau, the team failed to contend for the top positions in all three formats last year, but Esau said yesterday they were fired up to put that right this summer.
"The guys are mentally in a very good space and very excited about the season," Esau said. "We have had some good preparations and a very good net session yesterday [Tuesday]. The guys know they did not do themselves justice last season and they have lots to prove."
Esau said their main focus this summer was to introduce greater stability at the top of the order.
"We don't want to be negative but the major focus will be to try to take care of the new ball. We want to tighten up at the top even if we score a bit slower initially, and then try to build up the momentum in the second and third sessions."
Esau feels they will benefit from top-order batsman David White also being used as a bowler this season. It will allow them to play an extra batsman and that should help to strengthen the middle order.
"With David bowling again and Kelly Smuts also there [in the top-order] as an allrounder, it allows us to play an extra batter."
The batsmen face an immediate test because lined up against them today will be two seasoned players in fast-medium bowlers Garnett Kruger and Cliffie Deacon. Both these players have extensive experience at a franchise level and are well capable of testing their resolve.
The Eastern Province three-day team are: Eddie Moore, David White, Kelly Smuts, Colin Ackermann (captain), James Price, Simthembiso Ndwandwa, Lee-Roy Walters, Warren Bell, Sisanda Magala, Anrich Nortje, Akona Kula.