The University of Johannesburg will be looking at new recruit Yassar Cook to get their Varsity Cricket campaign off to a rocking start on Monday.

“Yassar will be opening the batting and is definitely a weapon for us up front,” UJ coach Richard Das Neves said ahead of their opening match against Maties in Potchefstroom.

Cook, who has been contracted by the Strikers for the past two seasons, has 19 first-class matches and just short of 1 000 runs, including a maiden century against Easterns in 2014, under his belly.

He also named players like all-rounder Delano Potgieter, all-rounder and left-arm spinner Harry van Straaten and speedster Keith Dudgeon as players with huge potential.

“But every player in our team wants to impress – as do all the university teams,” he said.

Das Neves said after making the semi-finals last year they would be aiming for a finals berth this time around, but admitted that “the competition is very tight and each university will be stronger”.

He said the squad honed their skills in pre-season matches against Pukke and Kovsies in Potch as well as in a match against Wits.

“It has been challenging in that we have a few provincial players involved in fixtures for the Strikers and Lions so we haven’t had a chance to get the full squad together to train yet.

“But when the guys have been around, they have been fantastic and the training good. They have been committed and up for the challenge.”

Das Neves said Varsity Cricket was an exciting week for all involved. “It is a bigger platform for the boys to showcase their skills and get higher honours.

“Last year, three of our players (Potgieter, Neels Bergh and Ndumiso Mvelase) went on to represent the Gauteng Strikers and they will all be back.”

The Varsity Cricket tournament, which showcases the country’s top eight university sides, concludes on Saturday with the semis and final.

Tuks won the inaugural competition last year.

Issued by: Coetzee Gouws On behalf of University of Johannesburg Sport