Rassie van der Dussen comes home to score maiden ton
CENTURION - It was exactly two months to the day that Rassie van der Dussen sat before the media explaining once again how he had missed out on a maiden international century.
At that stage Van der Dussen has played 45 innings across formats and been dismissed twice in the 90s in ODI's and also had a Test best 98 since his T20I debut against Zimbabwe in 2018.
Despite not having scored a century yet, Van der Dussen had fast developed into one of the senior players in a Proteas side that was undergoing yet another transitional period. He was even being spoken of as a future leader of the national team such was his standing within the dressing room.
But Van der Dussen privately knew that good players score fifties, but if he really wanted to be counted among the elite he needed to break through the century barrier.
"It's definitely something I think about," he admitted. "I've thought about it probably for my whole life."
But he also said: "I am a believer in what will happen, will happen. If I can keep putting myself in situations to come close, I back myself to get there. You can't go out on a certain day and say I am going to score a hundred. You've got to try and be consistent in your process every ball and in your mental discipline and give yourself a chance to succeed every ball."
It's this philosophical approach that has stood Van der Dussen in good stead through the early stages of his international career. It also probably explains his reaction when just three international innings later, he finally got rid of the monkey on his back in the first ODI against Pakistan at SuperSport Park on Friday.
After waiting so long for the milestone it would have been understandable if Van der Dussen launched into manic chest pumping, kiss the badge on the helmet, followed by a star jump in the air upon reaching the three-figure mark.
Even more so considering the fact that the Proteas were reeling at 55/4 when Van der Dussen has hardly managed to work his way into double digits yet.
WATCH: "Mr Consistency" Rassie van der Dussen breaks his international century duck with a superb maiden ODI 100 in his 49th appearance for the #Proteas! 👏 @IOLsport @Rassie72 @OfficialCSA @cricfanaticsmag @GraemeSmith49 pic.twitter.com/fl4cVroxAc— Zaahier Adams (@ZaahierAdams) April 2, 2021
Instead, Van der Dussen calmly took off his helmet, walked down the pitch to be embraced by his partner Kagiso Rabada, before raising his bat in the direction of his applauding teammates who were all up on their feet on the changeroom's balcony.
It was a man completely in control of his emotions and focused on the fact that this was hopefully the first of many more to come.
There was, though, a confession at the conclusion of his undefeated 123 that "it was a special feeling" and that "as a player, you take pride from performing under pressure, so I’m very happy."
Although Covid-19 robbed Van der Dussen of experiencing the ovation from the Centurion faithful who would have adorned the grass banks, it was fitting that the milestone was achieved here at SuperSport Park.
He may no longer call the scenic Highveld venue home due to him now playing his franchise cricket further along down the Ben Schoemam highway for the Lions at the Wanderers, but it was here in the nation's capital that his journey began.
Having learnt the game at nearby Menlo Park High School, Van der Dussen progressed through the Northerns Cricket youth systems before ultimately graduating to the Titans.
Although limited opportunities ultimately saw him depart Centurion for the unfashionable town of Potchefstroom for greater opportunities, it was timely that the much-awaited century came at the ground he learnt his trade.