Home Sport Cricket Are Proteas hopefuls shining or wilting in the SA20?

Are Proteas hopefuls shining or wilting in the SA20?

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Dudley Carstens looks at some of the SA20 players who have either butchered it completely or excelled and made their

TAG TEAM: Rassie van der Dussen, right, and Ryan Rickelton at MI CT

Big opportunities have a way of
working on your nerves and you either excel when that pressure is on or you completely butcher it.

In-between means you’re average, and unfortunately average is forgettable. Make an impact, meaning go full-out.

Life lesson done, which brings me to the
ongoing SA20 tournament.

With the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and June around the corner, Proteas coach Rob Walter made no secret of the fact that this tournament on home soil would go a long way in helping him select his squad for the global showpiece.

Naturally, there were a number of players on the fringe of the squad who would have been wide-eyed by this – their big shot at possibly playing at the World Cup.

In the interest of fairness, I closed the “halfway door” at the midstage of the tournament on Tuesday – before MI Cape Town faced Durban Giants.

That means all the teams played five matches before this statistical analysis was done.

So let’s look at some of the players who have either butchered it completely or excelled and made their stem dik for inclusion.

THEY’RE COOKING

Ryan Rickelton (MI Cape Town)

Ryan Rickelton of MI Cape Town. Photo by Sportzpics/SA20/BackpagePix

RICKELTON is the taai tammeletjie the selectors probably didn’t want. But after scoring 342 runs in five matches at an average of 85.5 including FOUR fifties, Walter will risk the ire of cricket lovers if he doesn’t select this guy sooner rather than later.

After making his international ODI and Test debuts in March last year, the 27-year-old 
opening batsman/wicketkeeper was a rather strange omission in recent series.

I am not sure exactly what the story is, but if talking with the bat is one way of bringing your point across, I don’t think the Proteas selectors can ignore Rickeleton’s voice much longer.

I mean, for an active Proteas player in Rassie van der Dussen to come out and say straight that this guy should be Quinton de Kock’s replacement, says a lot.

I don’t know if he upset anyone in the camp or in the Cricket South Africa offices, but let’s bag the egos – if that is an issue – and reward form.

Rassie van der Dussen (MI Cape Town)

Rassie van der Dussen of MI Cape Town.

RICKELTON’S opening partner at MI Cape Town is not only talking about his desire to be part of the T20 Proteas team, but he is spelling it out with the bat also.

As a duo, they certainly made a big impact at the start of the SA20 and with De Kock retired now and his opening partner Temba Bavuma not getting game time at Sunrisers Eastern Cape – not sure if he’s still injured or not – this dangerous partnership could be a copy and paste job in the national team.

Van der Dussen last played T20 cricket for SA in September and batted at No.3, but it’s as an opener that he is excelling in the SA20, scoring 210 runs in five innings including a century, at an average of 42.

Ottniel Baartman (Sunrisers)

RISING TALENT: Paceman Ottniel Baartman

The 30-year-old from Oudtshoorn has been included in a number of Proteas squads in recent memory, but is yet to make his international debut. It could come soon, though, if he carries on like he is in the SA20.

Third on the wicket-takers list next to Lungi Ngidi and Lizaad Williams, who are both pretty much in the mix in the national squad, Baartman has claimed eight scalps for Sunrisers Eastern Cape at an average of 16 runs per wicket.

TURN UP THE HEAT

Faf du Plessis (Joburg Super Kings)

Faf du Plessis of the Joburg Super Kings during a SA20 match. Picture: Abbey Sebetha/Sportzpics/SA20/BackpagePix

Yours truly was one of those mense who were excited at the prospect of seeing Faf du Plessis return to the national team – especially after the last couple of seasons he’s had.

But he needed to give the selectors and fans a reminder that at 39 he still means business.

This might be tough on old Faf – especially after only recently returning from injury, which might not be as easy as it once was at his age – but he hasn’t meant business in the tournament to date.

With only 32 runs in four innings at an average of 8, he certainly isn’t going to carve his way back into the national-team fold. Then again, there are some games to go for him to prove people wrong.

Dewald Brevis (MI CT)

Dewald Brevis of MI Cape Town plays a shot during the SA20. Picture: Gianluigi Guercia/Sportzpics/SA20/BackpagePix

Brevis should be the poster-boy of overhyping a youngster and putting extra pressure on him before he is ripe. Yours truly is guilty of that as well.

At 20, Baby AB has everyone’s attention when he walks to the middle.

Unfortunately for him, as big as the kudos when things go well, as big is the fall.

And he has fallen on some hard times of late, with only 28 runs scored in five innings for MI Cape Town at the halfway stage.

Honestly, he needs a miracle in the second half if he wants to be considered for the World Cup.

Maybe his time has not yet come.

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