Rassie van der Dussen takes great pride in being laidback – but even he had to fight the butterflies in his stomach on Thursday morning.
“I was a bit nervous but relaxed,” Van der Dussen said later. “There’s nothing you can do to make the time go quicker although it did seem to linger between 10am and 11. I felt that whatever will be will be, I was quietly confident, but when those names started coming up my heart started pounding.”
“I don’t show my emotions. My wife often abuses me for that, she’ll tell me ‘be something,’ and I tell her, ‘but this is just how I look.’”
Van der Dussen’s was the 13th name revealed. “I was watching that build up and there was a short video just before the announcement and I got emotional, it reminded me of getting into the system and realising that this is what I’ve worked for and when you see that protea on your chest, in that environment, it brings superhero strength out of you. I was emotional, happy, over the moon.”
Van der Dussen has demanded the selectors’ attention in the last two seasons, playing superbly across all formats for the Highveld Lions, topping the scoring charts in the four-day competition last season, and also finishing in the top five leading run-scorers in the Momentum One-Day Cup.
This season his performances for the Jozi Stars in the Mzansi Super League led to an even higher public profile, and by topping the run charts in that tournament his spot in the Proteas team was assured. “I was lucky in the Mzansi Super League, I had a good spell, it was a good space in my career, and everything I tried came off for me. You can attribute it to hard work or mental strength but you also need that little bit of luck and I definitely had that. The timing was good,” said Van der Dussen.
The 30 year old played nine ODIs this summer, scoring four half centuries including 93 on debut. His most impressive performance to date was in his second match, when after the South African top order had slumped to 29/3 against Pakistan in Durban, he remained resolute, scoring 80 not out to see the side across the line as they successfully chased 205.
One of the players who failed in that particular match was Reeza Hendricks, Van der Dussen’s Lions teammate, who missed out on World Cup selection on Thursday.
“My heart is heavy for Reeza, having played with him a lot, knowing what we’ve gone through in the last few years, but at the same time I’m privileged to be in that squad, and now we have a job to do.”
Rather than view his selection as the pinnacle of his career, Van der Dussen has already set his next target. “I’ve been trying to think about (the World Cup announcement) and also not think about it in the last few days , because you just want that confirmation. World Cups will rank up there with stuff you remember for the rest of your life. Being selected can be the pinnacle (of a career), but I’m hoping the defining moment of my career will be 14 July in the final.”@shockerhess