LONDON – Andile Phehlukwayo loves his social media.
But even the Proteas all-rounder admits to staying clear of it all the past month due to the way the national team have been trolled after their poor performances here at the World Cup.
But with South Africa finally winning their second game of the tournament last Friday, defeating Sri Lanka by nine wickets at Chester-le-Street, will “@andileluck19” be logging on again?
“I’ll be staying off social media just a little bit more,” Phehlukwayo said before continuing: “I am just in my own zone.”
The 23-year-old all-rounder has certainly been in his “own zone” during this World Cup. Despite the team’s performances being particularly poor, Phehlukwayo has been one of the few Proteas to actually enhance his credentials over the past month.
Besides the tense loss to New Zealand at Edgbaston where Phehlukwayo’s radar went a bit walkabout, he had found a length here very much to his liking.
He has claimed nine wickets in the competition, and also averages 32.25 with the bat. Unlike his teammates that often star in bilateral series when facing only one team, he’s shown the ability to adapt to facing different teams and the varying conditions encountered at the different grounds all around England and Wales.
Andile Phehlukwayo in action against New Zealand at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
“You’ve got to change your game plans and you’ve got to train differently because the opposition is not the same,” Phehlukwayo said.
“It’s been my first World Cup and it was really tough but we’ve got to adjust. Because it’s international cricket, you’ve got to be able to adjust and execute.”
Although Phehlukwayo is one of the few South African cricketers to have actually won a World Cup - the ICC U-19 title along with Aiden Markram and Kagiso Rabada - the step up to the senior men’s competition has been a real chastening experience, particularly due to the mental pressure that accompanies every game and he is grateful for the lessons learnt.
“It’s just in patches that we’ve lost the game and that’s something in international cricket you can’t do or you don’t win games,” he said. “We’ve just been short at times.
“You need to win those patches in important games and if you don’t it becomes really tough and you are chasing the game all the time. And you don’t want to be chasing the game.
“You want to be either on par or ahead of the game. That’s something we haven’t been very consistent in at this tournament. Hopefully, that’s something we will take with us and learn from.”
Having played each and every game thus far, Phehlukwayo will have the opportunity to sign off his maiden World Cup experience against familiar foes Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on Saturday.
Considering his record against the Aussies - Phehlukwayo averages 66 with the bat against Aaron Finch’s team - it could be a happy ending.@ZaahierAdams
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