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Ken Borland

Surely Hendricks must now keep his place?

Posted on December 23, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas play their final game on Tuesday before heading off to Australia for the T20 World Cup, the deciding match in their ODI series in India, and surely Reeza Hendricks must now be a part of every white-ball game for at least the next month?

Hendricks belatedly played his first match in India at the weekend, brought into the XI because regular captain Temba Bavuma was ill, and looked pure class he stroked 74 off 76 balls on a tricky, low-and-slow pitch in Ranchi.

It means Hendricks has now scored 370 runs in his last six innings for South Africa, dating back to July. That is the sort of form that it would be criminal to waste, especially for a batting line-up that has had some horror collapses of late.

Because Hendricks is in the T20 World Cup squad but Janneman Malan is not, one would expect Malan to be the player who makes way on Tuesday if Bavuma is fit to play again. Although Malan’s overall career ODI stats are still superb, in his last 12 innings, he averages just 24.83 at a strike-rate of only 69.95.

Of course, Hendricks should also be in the XI at the T20 World Cup, but he would have to replace captain Bavuma. But if ever there was a good argument for leaving out the appointed skipper, the difference in confidence and output that Hendricks would bring has to be it.

While Bavuma’s position is the major talking point heading into the World Cup, the form of spinner Tabraiz Shamsi is also concerning. Sixteen months ago he was first on the T20 bowling rankings, but his performances have been on the slide in India.

It has never been his favourite place to play, and India’s ruthless aggression towards him has made his life difficult, knocking his confidence.

Hopefully he will be out of this weirdly erratic phase in Australia, because he plays an important role in South Africa’s T20 team. Shamsi was also ill over the weekend and his wicket-taking ability in the middle overs was missed by the Proteas in the second ODI, as Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer belted their way to victory by seven wickets with 25 balls to spare.

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