Dane Vilas, recently selected skipper of the South Africa A-team and senior player of the Cape Cobras, said he has learned from some of the best cricket minds in the business the past ten years.
Two of those captains were Graeme Smith and Justin Kemp, who plied part of their trades at the Cape Cobras. Smith was lured to the Cape Cobras after playing in just one representative first-class game.
Kemp is still a member of the contracted list of Cobras players for 2015/2016 and has been one of the proud performers of the Newlands-based champion the past few seasons.
Vilas said he often spoke to the 37-year old Kemp, a former South African all-rounder, about reading and understanding the flow of the game.
Smith captained South Africa from 2003 until his retirement as international test player in 2014. He was a consummate lead-from-the-front player, and presided over the South African team when they beat England and Australia away from home in 2008 and 2012.
Vilas said another player who shaped his thinking about captaincy, was Neil McKenzie, who had the ability to think in an unorthodox fashion, yet make smart moves that was beneficial to the team.
The 30-year old wicketkeeper-batsman said he has led the Cape Cobras when Justin Ontong was absent through other commitments, but has also learned to put on his so-called thinking cap as he is the leader of the fielders in the team, and liaise with the bowlers regularly in his role as wicketkeeper.
Vilas said he doesn’t consider himself a charismatic leader who inspires others through great speeches, but he would like to get the best out of the team, and make apt choices, while also supporting the team in having fun.
Asked to reflect on the quality of the SA A-squad that he is leading, Vilas said it was a very good team of younger players, and he expects the South Africans to challenge India A on their tour later in the year.