Johannesburg – Kyle Verreynne has played two Tests, and eight One-Day Internationals, all as a stand-in, so is grateful that the One-Day International series against the Netherlands, provides him with a chance to play a few matches back to back.
It’s been a weird start to his international career, which for a few weeks earlier this year included being the most talked about cricketer in South Africa.
While the Proteas’ management persisted with Heinrich Klaasen against Pakistan, the calls for Verreynne grew louder. Klaasen was out of touch at the time and the demands to just ‘try the other guy’ grew louder by the day. Those cries – emanating mainly from the Western Cape, where Verreynne plies his trade domestically – were ignored by the selectors and management.
Verreynne remained third in the wicketkeeping queue – behind Quinton de Kock and Klaasen, with the latter’s power hitting ability viewed more favourably.
For the three match ODI series against the Netherlands, starting In Centurion on Friday, neither De Kock nor Klaassen have been picked in the squad, Verreynne is the primary gloveman.
“The main thing is to get some game time and put some performances in, but also to use it as a platform to show what I am about. It’s also a good opportunity to try and cement my place, if not in the starting XI, then as a permanent squad player for the next couple of series’,” the 24 year old said on Wednesday.
The importance of winning the series isn't lost on anyone in the squad, despite the Proteas’ biggest stars being absent, to allow them to rest following a busy few months and to freshen up minds ahead of the big home series against India this summer.
South Africa need points to climb up the ICC Super League table to ensure that they qualify automatically for the 2023 World Cup. There are seven places up for grabs, with hosts India’s spot already secured. The Proteas are currently ninth, which, should that not change in the coming series’ will leave them at risk of playing a pre-qualifying competition for the tournament.
A loss to Ireland earlier this year, has, Verreynne mentioned, ensured there is no danger of complacency in the home side’s camp ahead of the series against the Dutch.
There is also extra motivation by way of staking a claim for a spot in the sdie, as the build-up to that World Cup starts. “If you make an impression in a series like this then automatically the coaches and selectors will look at you a bit harder. Any time you get an opportunity to play (for SA), for me at least, you have an eye on the 2023 World Cup, and hopefully being involved there.”
“If you are able to do that, then going forward, especially for the 2023 World Cup, you’ll be looked at based on what you are able to do in a series like this where you are given an opportunity.
“Getting another opportunity might not be so easy, against India or in the other big series’ that are coming up, especially in the starting XI, so for me this is a really important series to hopefully show what I can do.”top:max(60%,326px);height:0;width:100%">
Verreynne spent the winter working on the aspect of his batting that saw him overlooked last season - his power hitting. “I don’t think I’ve lacked the power game, it’s just about having a few more options. I’ve always seen myself as someone who could score boundaries quite freely. It’s about understanding that, especially in international cricket, your boundary options might not be as frequently available as in domestic cricket,” he explained.