Shukri Conrad thought outside the box and flew to the US to convince the ‘prodigal son’, the retired Dane Piedt, to come back home for what could be yet another dance in a baggy green Proteas Test cap.
In a short space of time, Proteas Test coach Shukri Conrad has demonstrated his vast knowledge of South African cricket and its players.
He started by appointing Temba Bavuma captain of the Test team, a decision that Bavuma followed up with a career-best 172 in his first series as captain.
This time around, Conrad pulled the most audacious move in response to the situation he found himself in after the confirmation of the clash between next year’s Test tour to New Zealand and the SA20 play-offs.
With the batting and replacement fast-bowling options clearer, Conrad needed a spinner in the squad that he will take to New Zealand, and with the Black Caps’ top order filled with a number of left-handed batters – including Devon Conway, Tom Latham and Rachin Ravindra – a right-arm off-spinner seemed to be the best option.
But where would Conrad find one, seeing that apart from Tshepo Ntuli, most of the top right-arm off-spinners are contracted to the local T20 competition, including Imran Manack of the Paarl Rocks?
However, Conrad thought outside the box and flew to the US to convince the ‘prodigal son’, the retired Dane Piedt, to come back home for what could be yet another dance in a baggy green Proteas Test cap.
Piedt returned home, joined the Knights, did well and was included in the SA A side, a move which made it clear that Conrad was involved in Piedt’s return home.
Yesterday, Piedt (5/28) gave a first glimpse of the master plan by claiming a sparkling five-for to help SA A dismiss West Indies A for 154 on day two of the four-day clash at Buffalo Park in East London.
DAY 2 | STUMPS
✋ Dane Piedt was on song and proved his quality as he took a 5-er for the SA 'A' side against the West Indies
🇿🇦 SA 'A' 2️⃣9️⃣8️⃣& 6️⃣5️⃣/1️⃣
🌴 West Indies 'A' 1️⃣5️⃣4️⃣
— Proteas Men (@ProteasMenCSA) November 29, 2023
Piedt took three big wickets, Kavem Hodge (25), Tevin Imlach (3) and captain Joshua da Silva (7) and put South Africa A in a commanding position.
More impressively, Piedt was able to finish off the game relatively quickly, a skill that has been lacking in the Proteas and SA A teams in the recent past.
The former Western Province and Cape Cobras tweaker found the right lines and launched his deliveries in a perfect trajectory to get the wickets of Akeem Jordan (14) and Shamar Joseph (0).
Tshepo Moreki (3/66) and Dane Paterson (2/28) provided enough support to mask a mediocre batting performance from the home team, having been bowled out for 298, adding only 32 runs to their overnight 266/6.
Keegan Petersen top-scored with 64, while Raynard van Tonder reached 50.
Having secured a 144-run first-innings lead – courtesy of a brilliant bowling performance – top-order batters Tony de Zorzi (34 not out) and Van Tonder (20 not out) led SA A to safety after a Kevin Sinclair spin-bowling spell (1/19) led to Neil Brand’s demise late on day two.