Cook: No fear of failure
Posted by: Cricket South Africa on Wednesday, 12 December 2012

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bizhub Highveld Lions skipper Stephen Cook talks of adopting a 'no-fear'  attitude as he leads his side into the Momentum One Day Cup final against the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday. 

 

Opening the innings will mean taking on a fired-up Dale Steyn on a wicket he loves to bowl on, in just the kind of big-match occasion that seems to be tailor-made for the quick.

 

"Obviously Dale is a world-class performer, we've seen that over the years.  He's not number one in the world for nothing," says Cook.  

 

But he is quick to add: "There will be respect, but you've also got to play the ball and not the man. You are going to come off second best when you fall into that."

 

Damage control at the top of the order will fall to Cook as well as experienced campaigners Neil McKenzie and Alviro Peterson.

 

Cook went on to add: "Guys must back their skills.  We're not scared to make mistakes.  You can't fear failure, I've lost many a cricket game in my life, but you always remember the ones you win."

 

The Lions are not shy on fire-power either, it has to be said. Hardus Viljoen and Chris Morris have combined brilliantly to form the best new-ball pairing in the competition in the absence of the internationals.

 

"Hardus still has to undergo a fitness test. If he's fit he'll continue to do a good job, but we've got ample back-up," says Cook.  "Ethan O'Reily has done very well for us early on in the competition, and could still come back into the picture, as well as Pumie Matshikwe, Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso all available,  so we do have options."

 

If Viljoen is fit, Cook will not be shy of dishing out the fast stuff at the top of the order either.  Particularly when it comes to one Richard Levi, a player whose recent good form has ear-marked him for special attention form the Lions coaching staff.

 

"Levi is obviously a hugely talented, confidence player," said Cook.  "He's always dangerous, and he's definitely someone we'll be focussing on in terms of our preparation.  But, like anyone, he can get a good ball first up, and if our quicks have got anything to do with it, thats what they'll be trying to dish up on Friday," added the skipper.

 

Trophies have been hard to come by in recent years, and the Johannesburg side are desperate to bag a first domestic trophy since the 2003/2004 season.

 

"There's an excitement around, you can feel it in the squad." says Cook.  "Guys are keen to get the monkey off the back and get a trophy in the cabinet.  Winning is a habit, and I firmly believe if we win one trophy, they'll start to flood in.  Its just the confidence to get over the line that the guys need."

 

Friday's final could just be that start the Lions are looking for, and promises to be a thrilling encounter at The Bullring.

 

 

 

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