Proteas captaincy a lifelong dream, admits Maharaj
CAPE TOWN – At first glance Keshav Maharaj comes across as one of those players that prefer to fly under the radar.
An individual that’s content with being left alone to dutifully go about his business and that draws satisfaction from contributing to the team’s success without necessarily being cast in the spotlight.
Perhaps this persona has been perpetuated by the very same that have pigeon-holed the Proteas spinner as a “red-specialist”. In a refreshingly frank discussion yesterday, Maharaj dispels all these misconceptions.
“I do want to captain the South African team across all-three formats and I want to raise a World Cup trophy in my hands and as the leader of the side. Apart from wanting to play for the Proteas, as a childhood dream, captaining the team to a World Cup-winning campaign would be everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” Maharaj said.
“I really want to captain the Proteas. It’s been my dream - not many people in the Proteas’ setup know that - a few of them that are close to me know that.
“My life would be fulfilled in a cricketing sense if I could do this.”
Although Quinton de Kock has replaced Faf du Plessis this past summer as captain of the Proteas in white-ball cricket, Cricket SA are yet to name a leader for the Test side,. Maharaj could certainly be a contender, particularly as the 30-year-old’s leadership credentials have certainly risen this past season.
After the Dolphins fell at the final hurdle last year under Khaya Zondo, Maharaj led the KZN-based side to the Momentum 1-Day Cup title in 2020 with his team heading the league standings when the season was curtailed due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The extra responsibility of leadership seems to inspire Maharaj too.
Despite playing only seven games, he topped the Dolphins’ bowling charts with 16 wickets at an average of 14.68. His economy rate was miserly 3.79 to boost. In addition, Maharaj averaged 53.50 with the bat, thereby giving him the confidence that he can blossom into a fully-fledged all-rounder.
Maharaj was recalled from the international ODI wilderness - he played the last of his previous five ODI’s back in 2018 - for the three-match series against Australia at the backend of the home summer.“I have now had a taste of what it’s like to score an international 50. I know I am capable of scoring more runs than I have been.”@ZaahierAdams