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WATCH: Ryan Rickelton ’noticed the noise’ before whipping out reverse sweep on debut

Ryan Rickelton hits a drive against Bangladesh. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Ryan Rickelton hits a drive against Bangladesh. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Apr 1, 2022

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Johannesburg - Call it cheeky, call it tense, but it got Ryan Rickelton off the mark in Test cricket - a reverse sweep for four.

Traditionalists, like Shaun Pollock, who was on commentary at the time Rickelton played the stroke, frowned. But it was in keeping with the modern way.

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“I whipped out the reverse sweep a bit early, but it’s just one of those things,” the 25 year old left hander said after the first day on Wednesday.

“I was a bit nervous, I just wanted to get out there and once I was out there, I was more excited, to finally get the opportunity and stamp my authority on the game and show what I can offer.”

“I was planting my front foot a bit early to the offie (Mehidy Hasan) because I was quite tense. I took a risk, it’s not the riskiest shot for me, but I was thinking that if I sit back and I’m nought of 10 or 15 things aren’t going to be in my favour. So I whipped that out, it worked luckily, it got me away.”

Rickelton was one of two debutants along with Lizaad Williams for the Proteas in the first Test against Bangladesh that started in Durban on Wednesday.

His selection, in place of Rassie van der Dussen, is not a surprise. Rickelton has been part of the Proteas squads since last year and went with the team to New Zealand, where, like many others, he had expected to start after Keegan Petersen missed that tour with Covid.

“I noticed the noise,” he said of the calls for him to be picked at the time. “I’ve been desperate to play, I have tried to put my hand up domestically by scoring runs and to make a name for myself. I had been playing quite nicely going into that New Zealand series, I was really chomping at the bit to get a game there,” he added.

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Rickelton had made three centuries for the Central Gauteng Lions in Four-Day series before that tour, a run of form that was built on a solid end to the 2020/21 season and a good tour for the SA A side to Zimbabwe in June where made a hundred and scored 92 in another innings.

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However having missed out on selection in New Zealand, Rickelton subsequently lost form, with a run of low scores in the One-Day Cup, denting his confidence.

“Having not played and then gotten a few low scores in domestic cricket, it makes you think twice. Coming into this game it’s definitely not the best I’ve felt, there was not as much confidence behind my batting right now, just because of a few low scores for the Lions.”

Some encouraging words from Proteas head coach Mark Boucher, who told Rickelton on Wednesday at lunch-time he’d be making his Test debut, and emphasised the start of a new phase for the Proteas in the absence of the IPL contracted players, gave Rickelton a lift.

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“I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I just hope I can make it work and just represent myself well, give myself the best opportunity to maximise what I’ve got.”

Rickelton played confidently in making 21 before misjudging a pull to mid-on. “I’m really sad I didn’t get through to the end of the day. But it was a good start and hopefully I can take some momentum from it.”

@shockerhess

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