Isma-eel Gafieldien looking to learn from Proteas top-order
With a top order including the likes of Proteas trio Pieter Malan, Janneman Malan and Zubayr Hamza, Cape Cobras left handed batsman Isma-eel Gafieldien is well aware of the challenge that lies ahead, but he is looking to learn as much as he can from the Proteas trio in order to be ready for when called upon.
24-year-old Gafieldien was awarded his first franchise contract after an excellent season for Boland, finishing the 3-Day competition with 712 runs, at an average of 54.76, including 3 centuries and 2 half-centuries, but he is under no illusion that the hard work starts now as he looks to make his mark.
“When I got the news about my Cobras contract, it felt indescribable, like a perfect dream come true. Especially since I am from the Cape Town area where the Cobras are based, you always hope that one day you will be a part of the Cobras team. It definitely was an amazing feeling when I found out, but it only sank in at a later stage when I processed everything and know that the hard work only starts now. I’m very thankful for this opportunity.”
Gafieldien’s make-up does not see him rely on muscle and bulk for power hitting, but is rather based around accumulating runs through good cricketing stokes, hitting gaps and running well between the wickets. That’s just one of the reasons why he is looking forward to working with coach Ashwell Prince.
“I’m very excited to start working with Coach Ashwell, especially knowing that he was a left hander as well and after watching him during his playing career for the Proteas, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with him and just learn as much as I can from him from a technical, skills, game plan and mental side of batting and applying and adapting it to my game, as he has done it on the biggest stage.”
A self-described “super chilled person who loves to spend time at home with my little family away from cricket,” when it comes to setting goals for the season, Gafieldien is never one to shy away from hard graft. “When it comes to my goals for the season, firstly I want to learn as much as I can from the more experienced guys that have done it at this level for years now, the likes of Pieter, Zuby, Jannas and look to apply it to my game where I can. So for me that would be the main goal, to learn and learn quickly what it takes at this level and just grow as a cricketer and individual from the likes around me.
“Another goal would be to make the most of the opportunities that will be given to me and put in some valuable performances. I would like to score my first 50 and 100 for the Cobras if the opportunity presents itself.”
Whilst all the franchises await confirmation on when the season will start, Gafieldien has not been sitting idle, using the time in Lockdown to enhance his cooking skills. Gafieldien will be hoping his new-found culinary skills will help him perfect his recipe for success on the cricket field.