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Ken Borland



Theunis de Bruyn’s selection for the Proteas is no surprise 0

Posted on December 19, 2016 by Ken

 

There will be a new cap in the Standard Bank Proteas squad for their three-Test series against Sri Lanka starting on Boxing Day, but the selection of Theunis de Bruyn is hardly a surprise given the 24-year-old’s amazing first three years of his franchise career.

Having scored over 500 runs for the Titans in his first two seasons of Sunfoil Series cricket, De Bruyn has continued to make progress after a move to the Knights, having already made 423 runs at an average of 60.42 in eight innings this season. He has also enjoyed a couple of prolific limited-overs campaigns, in both 50 and 20-over cricket, to suggest he is a batsman for all formats.

De Bruyn’s first-class haul of over 2500 runs at an average of 48.73 includes six centuries and an unbeaten double-hundred for SA A against the England Lions. The tall, elegant right-hander has in fact scored two centuries and two half-centuries in seven innings for SA A, another reason why his promotion to the Proteas squad was considered almost certain.

“Theunis is a good talent and has done well for both his franchise and SA A and is next in the pecking order. It’s good to get him into the set-up because we definitely see him as a future star for the Proteas, playing in all the formats,” convenor of selectors Linda Zondi said.

While the promotion of a new, young batting star to the national squad is always exciting, there will also be a tang of regret for Rilee Rossouw, who toured Australia but has now suffered yet another inopportune injury, another foot problem ruling him out of contention.

“Obviously we aren’t pleased with Rilee’s injury because he was the next batsman in line, and Stiaan van Zyl would probably also have been in line had he not signed a Kolpak deal. It’s obviously very disappointing for Rilee, I spoke to him in Australia and he really wants to do well for South Africa and was very happy with the way we backed him in the ODIs. He’s obviously an exceptional player and he will still do well in the future for South Africa and contribute immensely going forward because it’s still a long season ahead and he’s definitely still in our plans,” Zondi said.

Rossouw did not play in any of the Tests in Australia and was very much the reserve batsman on tour, and that is probably going to be De Bruyn’s role during the three Tests against Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg. But with AB de Villiers already ruled out and captain Faf du Plessis potentially facing a ban from his ball-tampering appeal on Monday, the Knights captain will be preparing as hard as anyone in the camp.

And that’s the positive – whether he plays or not, De Bruyn will learn plenty about the skills and mindset required at full international level.

“Even if Theunis doesn’t make the starting XI, he’s going to gain more experience and fitting into those surroundings and the culture of the team will only enhance his belief that he will be able to fit in at international level,” Zondi said.

The squad for the Sri Lanka series also features a recall for left-arm fast bowler and useful batsman Wayne Parnell, who has been in top-class form for the Cape Cobras this season. He is averaging over 30 with the bat in T20 cricket and less than 20 with the ball, at a brilliant economy rate of 6.7.

A replacement for the injured Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn, he could play a part in the Wanderers Test if the Proteas decide to go with four pacemen and let JP Duminy take the spinner’s job.

“Wayne strengthens the depth and therefore makes it a better squad. He’s an exciting cricketer with the left-arm variation he brings and he adds to our depth in batting. We’ve been hoping he would stay injury-free and dominate at franchise level, and we’ve seen that with his batting and bowling,” Zondi said.

Being on home soil, just a 13-man squad has been chosen and the starting XI pretty much selects itself after the dazzling success in Australia.

Stephen Cook, son of the legendary Jimmy, and Dean Elgar will continue as the opening batsmen taking the shine off the ball, with Hashim Amla, Duminy, Du Plessis or De Bruyn, Temba Bavuma and wiucketkeeper/batsman Quinton de Kock to follow. The bowlers will be Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj or Parnell, and Kyle Abbott.

The likes of fast bowler Hardus Viljoen and Van Zyl would have stood a decent chance of making the squad, were it not for their decision to sign Kolpak contracts for English county cricket. Although disappointed that two fine cricketers are no longer eligible for selection, Zondi said he is content there is still more than enough talent in South Africa for the Proteas to build on their recent success.

“We can’t compete with the pound and it hurts to lose quality players, but we do have depth. So I’m comfortable but not happy. Upon signing a Kolpak deal, these players make themselves unavailable, otherwise someone like Stiaan van Zyl probably would have been next in line in the batting queue,” Zondi said.

Sadly, there are going to be more high-profile South African cricketers signing Kolpak deals in the near future.

It has now been confirmed that Du Plessis will once again guide the Proteas as captain and he said he is grateful for his long-time friend De Villiers’ decision to step aside in the interests of the team.

“It just shows you the person that AB is, that he always puts the team first, and it also shows how strong the culture of the side is.

“Test cricket is for me the most enjoyable time to be a captain because you have to work on plans for a long period of time. You have to strategise on how you’re going to make sure you’re going to get guys out and continue to challenge guys over a long time.

“To finally have it now‚ as something that is set in stone‚ is a huge honour and I’ll be taking it very seriously. I’ll try and make sure that the stuff that we’ve been working on for the past six months to a year‚ that we don’t let those standards drop. If I keep pushing the guys to make sure we hit those standards, we’ll be a consistent team,” Du Plessis said.

If the Standard Bank Proteas show the same team unity and focus on executing their basics to perfection, then their fans at home can look forward to more stellar performances against the Sri Lankans.

Tuks now rule on a global stage 0

Posted on August 01, 2014 by Ken

Having dominated South African club and universities cricket for the last three years, Assupol Tuks took their regime to a global stage at the weekend as they won the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Finals at the Oval in London.

Unbeaten through the group stage, Tuks then won a thrilling semi-final against defending champions Rizvi Mumbai College by five wickets with five balls to spare, before beating Jamaica Inter-Collegiate Sports Association by 40 runs in the final of the eight-nation, T20 varsity world cup.

“We’ve had three years of dominance in South Africa and now we wanted to represent our country and measure ourselves on the world stage. I’m over the moon to be able to say we are the best university cricket team in the world, but we worked for it,” coach Pierre de Bruyn said yesterday.

“We planned for everything and we proved ourselves to everyone. I’m proud of the success and the culture of this team, and nobody can take that away from this side.”

In the final, pacemen Vincent Moore and Corbin Bosch shared seven wickets as the Jamaicans were restricted to 148 for nine in their 20 overs.

Much of the hard work, however, was done by outstanding off-spinner Ruben Claassen, who took one for 10 in four overs, claiming the key scalp of Cassius Burton for 55.

The Tuks total of 188 for six was built around a ferocious 61 off 40 balls from Johan Wessels.

De Bruyn has spent the last few months telling everyone how good a cricketer Wessels, one of the lesser known member of the Tuks squad without any first-class experience or national U19 caps, is and the 22-year-old was magnificent on finals day, when it really counted.

Aiden Markram had given the Tuks innings a good start, after they had won the toss, with his 33 off 26 balls, but Wessels kept the scoreboard ticking and then had the run-rate boiling over as the University of Pretoria students went into the break with a formidable total on the board.

Sean Dickson scored 39 off 31 balls to finish the job, while Tian Koekemoer (18* off 7) and Bosch (11* off 4) provided important cameos right at the death.

The semi-final was a far tenser affair for coach De Bruyn and his team.

Rizvi Mumbai had won the toss and elected to bat first, and had cruised to 50 for one after six overs and 83 for two in the 12th over before Tuks regained control through spinners Claassen and David Mogotlane.

Claassen produced another brilliant spell of 4-1-10-2, with Mogotlane applying pressure at the other end as his four overs went for just 20 runs, and the Rizvi lower-order then collapsed to the canny death bowling of Bosch (2-26) and Moore to finish on 122 for nine.

Rizvi seamer John Ebrahim then had Tuks behind the eight-ball as he removed openers Markram and Gerry Pike in his first two overs, before Theunis de Bruyn (31) and Wessels steadied the innings with a third-wicket stand of 54 in 7.2 overs.

But the dismissal of captain De Bruyn, who was named as the Player of the Tournament, and both Koekemoer and Dickson in quick succession meant Tuks were under pressure at 90 for five after 15 overs.

But vice-captain Heinrich Klaasen (18* off 12) and the reliable Wessels (56* off 52) mounted a rearguard action that took Tuks home in the final over.

Wessels was named as the man of the match in both the semi-final and final, and coach De Bruyn said it was players like him – and Claassen – who had pleased him most.

“It’s the guys without the reputations who really stood up on the final day. Joe Wessels is proving to be a very good player, he played two magnificent innings in the knockout games and I’m ecstatic for him. I’ve used him as a bit of a wildcard and he’s really impressed me as a cricketer.

“Ruben out-bowled everybody in the tournament, including the spinners from the sub-continent. He and Corbin Bosch were the top two wicket-takers and Ruben has improved so much I believe he should be in the Northerns team this summer.

“He’s unique, he’s tall, he gets bounce and he’s not scared to experiment. David Mogotlane has also improved a lot, in all his skills. He’s worked out his ghame – he’s not a big turner of the ball, but he’s a clever bowler,” De Bruyn said.

The efforts of Theunis de Bruyn and Markram in the group games were enough for them to finish as the two leading run-scorers in the tournament, while Wessels charged into third position on the final day.

But all these Tuks cricketers will be heading into the new summer confident of once again really making their mark.



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