’The competition is obviously a good thing’: Reeza Hendricks pushing hard for T20 World Cup squad
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CAPE TOWN - Reeza Hendricks knows all about being the best man, but never quite the groom.
It was two years ago when the stylish right-hander missed out on a ticket to the 50-over World Cup in the United Kingdom by a hairline, when Hashim Amla’s experience was preferred, despite the veteran’s once mythical powers being on the wane.
Now with the Proteas squad for the T20 World Cup set to be announced later this week, Hendricks once again finds himself in the situation of being left at the altar.
Only now it’s the youthful Aiden Markram (26) and Janneman Malan (25) who are challenging the 32-yearold Hendricks, while there is also currently injured captain Temba Bavuma who adds to the top-order conundrum.
“The competition is obviously a good thing. There are a lot of good players in the squad. I can only control what I can control. That’s putting in the hard yards,” Hendricks said.
“But there are interesting times ahead. The next couple of days will keep a few boys on their toes in terms of the outcome.
“But I think we are definitely looking forward to it in terms of the outcome. I personally don’t want to look too far ahead. I would love to think I would be involved and be selected.”
Hendricks has certainly given convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang and coach Mark Boucher lots to ponder about in his couple of outings across both white-ball formats.
Having not played a one-day international since facing England prior to the Covid-19 epidemic, which seems an eternity ago now in February 2020, Hendricks returned to the Proteas team for last weekend’s second ODI in Colombo.
He seemed to take the form from his stroke-filled 69 off 48 balls in the final T20 against Ireland in Belfast a month ago straight into the longer format, with another fluent half-century on Saturday to help the Proteas level the series.
It certainly rekindled memories of Hendricks’ ODI debut in Sri Lanka in 2018, when he struck his maiden international century.
“Sri Lanka definitely does bring back fond memories from my last trip here. I obviously started well in the couple of ODIs I played, and then probably didn’t do as well as I would have liked to,” he said.
“And then obviously got left out for a period now, but to get that opportunity that I got in the last game was obviously something I have been working on to get back in the team. And to have contributed, obviously quite happy with that, and hopefully I can build on that going forward.
“I took some time to get myself in and get used to the conditions. Once I got the hang of it, I could obviously play a bit more freely.
“With Janneman playing well on the other side, it was obviously my role to try and keep the intent going and keep the scoreboard ticking. It was nice to score some runs, and I would have loved to kick on, but it is what it is, so happy to have contributed.”
Hendricks will get another opportunity to remind Mpitsang & Co of his value in the ODI series decider today (11am start). Another big performance might just convince everyone that he is actually the best man for the job.