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Aaron Phangiso will be relying on the support from his home fans when he makes his debut for South Africa in the final ODI against New Zealand in Potchefstroom on Friday. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

Johannesburg – Highveld Lions' left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso will be relying on the support from his home fans when he makes his debut for South Africa in the final ODI against New Zealand in Potchefstroom on Friday.

Phangiso, who will come in for the injured Robin Peterson, says he will draw inspiration from playing at his franchise home ground, which will help quell the match-day butterflies.

“I will be more comfortable because I know the conditions really well,” he said about Senwes Park.

“It will probably calm me down, I'm more familiar with the supporters there as well and that is all you need for your first game, supporters being behind you.”

His rise to the national team came after his excellent performance for the Lions in the Champions League T20 in September, where he was the joint second-highest wicket-taker of the competition with 10 wickets at an economy rate of less than six.

He made his T20 debut against New Zealand in December last year, but was wicket-less in the match, giving away 42 runs. He followed up the performance with an excellent showing in his second match, taking three for 25 in his four-over spell.

“I was happy with the way that I bowled in my first game,” he said about his debut.

“Even though I got hit a bit I believe that it was out of good lengths so it didn't bother me much, it's not like I bowled a lot of full tosses or a lot of bad balls. I had confidence and the backing from Gary (Kirsten) and Russell (Domingo) going into the second T20 also helped a lot.”

An ODI debut comes with the prospect of longer bowling spells, an opportunity that excites Phangiso as he hopes to make a good impact when given the ball.

He missed out in the first two matches of the current series, but says has used his time constructively, especially tapping into the experienced brains in the team to work on his game.

“I have been working with Robbie P (Peterson) who has shown me a couple of things, strategies that I can work around during the game and how to work out the batsmen. Gary (Kirsten) and Allan (Donald) have also been great; we have worked out some good plans.”

A “batters paradise” is expected at Senwes Park, with the wicket unlikely to offer much assistance to the spinners. – Sapa


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