Dane Vilas, the former South Africa wicketkeeper, has signed a deal with the Durban-based Dolphins franchise for the 2017-18 season. Vilas, who played six Tests for South Africa and has also signed a Kolpak deal with Lancashire, was based at the Cobras for the last seven seasons.
Vilas will add rare international experience to a Dolphins squad that lost several big names ahead of the 2016-17 season. David Miller and Kyle Abbott both left the franchise, leaving Imran Tahir as the only national player in the ranks at the start of last summer. Since then, Andile Phehlukwayo and Keshav Maharaj have both played for South Africa, adding some superstar quality to the outfit.
Although Dolphins also have another wicketkeeper on their books in Morne van Wyk, the 38-year old is in the twilight of his career and recently handed the captaincy to Khaya Zondo. With Dolphins also losing Daryn Smit, who has relocated to the UK, Vilas will do the bulk of the keeping duties across all formats. He is not expecting to do the same at his county, where he has been signed primarily as a batsman, thus ensuring his workload does not become excessive across back-to-back seasons.
“I will be available to keep for Lancashire if they need me to but they have a young keeper, Alex Davies, who is trying to break into the England ranks, so it will be good to offer assistance where I can,” Vilas said “Signing the Kolpak deal will mean that I will be able to focus on contributing to the Dolphins in all three formats.”
Dolphins have also contracted Lwandiswa Zuma, a 20-year-old seamer who was schooled at Maritzburg College, the alma mater of Kevin Pietersen, and a South African under-19 player who was plying his trade at the Bloemfontein-based Knights.
In the 2016-17 season, Dolphins, under new coach Grant Morgan, did not win any trophies. They finished fourth in the first-class and one-day cups and fifth in the T20 competition.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.