It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Proteas' Reeza Hendricks
He waited almost four years for the chance after first getting a taste of international cricket in a T20 against Australia in 2014. He tightened up his game during the intervening period and seemed mentally stronger.
But there were only a further two half-centuries in his next 17 outings and he was out of the team for the 2019 World Cup with the selectors preferring the experience of Hashim Amla and JP Duminy.
But with Amla and Duminy joining AB de Villiers in the retirement lounge after the World Cup, Hendricks could rightfully feel that he was at the forefront of the queue lining up to replace the veterans for the foreseeable future.
Instead, the 30-year-old has played only three ODIs and three T20Is since the World Cup, with the likes of Temba Bavuma, Janneman Malan, Kyle Verreynne and Heinrich Klaasen all moving ahead of him.
“My season has been a rollercoaster one with lots of highs and lots of lows, and disappointments as well. I felt I did fairly well on the domestic scene where I have contributed in all formats, so I was quite happy with my performance there,” Hendricks said.
“But then again very disappointed in the international and Proteas set up. I only got a handful of opportunities (for the Proteas); been around, didn’t play, got left out. I couldn’t understand why. Those are the sort of questions I asked myself. Those are the sort of disappointments I had to deal with the past season. It’s been a rollercoaster of a season.”
Hendricks is certainly fortunate that when he returns from the national set-up he is welcomed with open arms at the Highveld Lions and Jozi Stars. He certainly enjoys the environment at the Wanderers, having produced his best first-class return in years last season, which included a career-best 168 not out against the Knights that helped the Lions defend their four-day domestic title. Equally, he was once again among the Mzansi Super League’s top run-scorers, despite the Jozi Stars finishing bottom of the standings.
“I have had to learn how to adapt and how to keep being persistent in different situations,” Hendricks said.
“Sport is full of ups and downs; one day you’re the hero and next day you’re not. It is important to have a good level and to stay on that level.
“There is always going to be pressure. You will look at the schedule and then set some goals. Those are things that you want to achieve during the season. Hopefully I can contribute for whichever team I play for.”
Hendricks is still part of CSA’s contracted list of players and will return to outdoor training with his national teammates once the lockdown regulations allow.