- Proteas coach Mark Boucher says there are some “tough choices to make” ahead of the T20 World Cup in October.
- The top order, in particular, sees a number of players in form and fighting for places.
- The Proteas beat Ireland on Friday, claiming a 2-0 series win after their success against England.
Proteas coach Mark Boucher has heaped praise on opening batsman Reeza Hendricks, saying he has done “something special” on his side’s tour of England.
The Proteas have played five T20s over two series on their tour, beating England 2-1 before securing a 2-0 win over Ireland that culminated with a comfortable 44-run win in the second T20 in Bristol on Friday night.
Things are certainly looking up for South Africa with October’s T20 World Cup in Australia in mind, and while winning is obviously the primary reason for that, there is also depth throughout the side with numerous players performing and staking a claim for selection.
Hendricks is one of those.
Having been given a run at the top of the order in the absence of injured captain Temba Bavuma, Hendricks carded scores of 57 (33), 53 (32), 70 (50), 74 (53) and 42 (40) over the two series and is one of many who has put his hand up.
“Reeza has really come good on this tour,” said Boucher.
“We’ve always known that Reeza can play, and he’s been a fantastic player. I think it’s just the way that he’s gone about it with a touch of a different mindset and being a little bit more aggressive that has really stood out.
“I’m really happy for Reeza. He’s a good player and he has stayed hungry. Four 50s in a row is doing something special in T20 cricket. I’m not sure how many people have done that.”
The likes of Rilee Rossouw and Tristan Stubbs have also impressed, making the conversation around top order selection an interesting one with Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen also in the mix.
“There is great competition in the squad at the moment and in quite a few positions as well. We did give a couple of opportunities to guys to see what they can do, and they came good, which is great for us to see,” said Boucher.
“I like that the guys are playing the brand of cricket we want to see and that’s exciting. It’s not maverick cricket, it’s smart cricket, and our skill levels have been up. It can only be good for our squad if guys are challenging each other for spots.
“It’s a good headache to have when there are so many guys vying for positions with a World Cup around the corner.
“I don’t want to give out too much. That’s strategy I wouldn’t want to give away. I’m a part of a selection panel, and we’ve got some tough choices to make. I’m sure we will make those.There are a lot of guys competing and, unfortunately, we can only take 15 to the World Cup.
“We’re going to have to look at the opposition and make some smart decisions on who we select for that World Cup. It’s a very good position for us to be in, but the panel is going to have to knuckle down and select the best XV we think can bring us back a trophy.”
Reeza Hendricks (Getty)
Selection posers aside, Boucher is pleased by what he has seen from his charges over the last couple of weeks.
“Ï think we’ve played some really good cricket over the tour so far against a strong England lineup where the two wins we had were quite convincing,” said Boucher.
“I don’t think Ireland are any pushover team … so there are a lot of great things that I’ve seen so far.
“I’ll never say we’re the finished product. I think we can keep challenging each other and keep improving in different aspects of our game. I’m happy with where we are at the moment, but there is always room for improvement .”
The Proteas now shift their attention to a three-Test series against England, which gets underway at Lord’s on August 17.