While their team mates are put through their paces courtesy of a rigorous off-season strength and conditioning training programme and slowly get back into the nets, Savage, together with Daryn Smit, Cody Chetty, Keshav Maharaj, Prenelan Subrayen, Jonathan Vandiar and Craig Kirsten, have been racking up the runs, wickets in the United Kingdom. “The standard over here is pretty good and is fairly similar to that in Durban. I’m also quite fortunate to be playing for a really good club,” said Savage who is plying his trade at Furness Cricket Club’, in Cumbria.
“I’ve got quite a few runs whilst I’ve been over here and it’s been going pretty well with the ball as well,” he added shortly after notching up his second hundred of his trip abroad, a season best 151.
With 430 runs under his belt already, to go with his 38 wickets at an average of just 7.00, Savage has embraced the responsibility associated with being the club’s overseas professional, something he believes will stand him in good stead ahead of the upcoming local season.
“I definitely feel I’ll benefit from having learnt how to take some responsibility and hopefully that will help me become a match winner back home,” explained the former Maritzburg College pupil.
“Sometimes it can be quite easy to fall into the trap of leaving it up to someone else to do the job when you’re batting in the middle order however over here, being the senior pro, you have to make sure you bat for the team rather than just for yourself.
“I’ve learnt to give myself a chance by getting in first – often through just looking to bat a little slower and not playing quite as many shots – before then looking to catch up a bit towards the end.” Dolphins captain Morné van Wyk believes the time a large number of players have spent abroad this winter will benefit the entire Dolphins team.
“For young players in particular, going over to the UK at some stage in their career is an absolute must,” said Van Wyk. “Having been to the UK six or seven times myself I know just how important it is for every player to go over there and experience a different cricketing environment, develop new skills and work on your game in a less pressured environment.
“Most importantly though, it gives you the opportunity to enjoy a new life experience and the more someone develops as a person then the more they will develop as a player as well!
“Players who can take care of big moments is also obviously a big benefit for us as the Dolphins team as well and, being the overseas pro, that is certainly something you are learn to do while you’re over there which is great for us,” he added.