JOHANNESBURG – Beuran Hendricks’ recall to the Proteas came very late in the season, although it wasn’t too surprising.
Based on form and fitness, his international recall was deserved. He claimed 32 wickets for newly crowned Four-Day Franchise champions the Highveld Lions, taking those wickets at an average of 23.78. Perhaps given Hendricks’ struggles with injuries over the years, it’s the fact that he bowled more than 230 overs that may be as impressive as the number of wickets he took.
The 28-year-old now trusts that his body won’t break down as it often did when he was at the Cape Cobras - and even when he was first picked for the national side in 2014.
“I was hampered by injury, I had to assess my fitness and I spent time improving that and making sure I stayed on the park as long as possible,” Hendricks said on Wednesday night after claiming 4/14 in the final T20 International against Pakistan - a career-best in T20s.
“There was a lot of hard work, with the trainers at the Cobras and now with the Lions. We set targets for fitness and it's paying off now.”
Hendricks had a fine Mzansi Super League campaign by picking up 12 wickets in eight matches, bowling with good pace and displaying excellent all round skills, something which was a feature of his performance at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.
“I have a certain set of skills that I like to put forward in games. Different situations call for different types of skills, I try to exploit that as much as I can.”
Hendricks played a couple of matches at the start of Ottis Gibson’s tenure as national coach back in October 2017, but until two weeks ago hadn’t registered on the national side’s radar.
Instead, Dane Patterson and even Duanne Olivier were given outings at the start of the one-day series with Pakistan, until the selectors threw him into the mix for the last two matches.
Although he didn’t set the world alight - he conceded 31 runs in seven overs in the Pink ODI and claimed 1/50 in the third match at Centurion - his performances in the T20s will help to keep his name in the conversation for the World Cup.
Hendricks picked up eight wickets in the T20 series and with the Proteas' brains trust still searching for a back-up seamer for the squad, his case is a strong one.
“I just have to take it a game at a time,” said Hendricks. “I want to make sure I swing the ball up front with pace, and make sure I’m reliable in the death periods."
Hendricks, Chris Morris and Dwaine Pretorius are among a handful of players who will be keen to use the Momentum One-Day Cup that starts today to keep the heat on the selectors.@shockerhess