JOHANNESBURG – Having already suffered the loss of Lungi Ngidi before he’d even got the chance to bowl in the Mzansi Super League, the Tshwane Spartans have to come to terms with playing without Theunis de Bruyn, who injured a disc in his lower back and will miss the remainder of the competition.
De Bruyn hopes to be back by the time the domestic four-day competition resumes on December 19, when the Titans face the Warriors in East London.
He’ll hope to use that match to prove his fitness for the Proteas ahead of the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, which is taking place at SuperSport Park.
Besides being a blow for his MSL franchise, De Bruyn must hope the injury doesn’t curtail his chances of playing in that match, for he is still to cement a place in the Proteas Test starting team.
There have been encouraging signs for him this year, none more so than his last performance – a second-innings century in Colombo in the second Test against Sri Lanka, when the rest of South Africa’s batting folded again in conditions that favoured spin.
Earlier in the year, he stood tall against the rough-house tactics employed by the Australians in the first Test at Kingsmead, laying down a key psychological marker for the remainder of that series.
Since returning to the Titans this season, he’s been their most impressive batsman, scoring 409 runs in the four-day competition at an average of 68.16, with two hundreds and two fifties.
For the remainder of the MSL, his place in the Spartans squad will be taken by Andrea Agathangelou, the 29-year-old opening batsman who has played just 12 T20 matches.
“I got the call yesterday, and it was obviously something I wanted from the beginning, I didn’t get selected from the start, but the fact that I eventually got the call to play for the Spartans is an honour,” said Agathangelou.
Barring injury, it’s unlikely Agathangelou will play at all, with the Spartans batting also being revitalised on Tuesday by the arrival of marquee international signing Eoin Morgan.
Besides getting stuck in a Joburg traffic jam shortly after touching down, the England T20 and ODI captain said it had been a “chilled” first few hours in South Africa, and he was getting to know some of his new teammates.
Morgan understands, given the Spartans predicament in the MSL – they are fourth on the log and desperately in need of a win on Wednesday at home against the Paarl Rocks – that he needs to make a play quickly.
READY FOR BATTLE: @Eoin16 hit the ground running today during his first training session, ahead of tomorrow's must win #MSLT20 match against @Paarl_Rocks at SuperSport Park. pic.twitter.com/9QPtXh0XcV— Tshwane Spartans (@SpartansMSLT20) December 4, 2018
“It presents a bigger opportunity. We need to win three out of the four games, if not all four, to be in contention to qualify.
“As an overseas player coming into any team, there is that extra expectation on your shoulders, but when it’s make or break, it makes it that much more exciting.”
Wednesday’s match starts at 2pm.@shockerhess