To kick start the summer, Proteas white ball coach Rob Walter has included Warriors batter Matthew Breetzke for the second time in his T20I squad, having selected the right-handed batter in the Australia series back in August.
Similar to India in that they have brought youngsters who have played with and against some of the best T20 cricketers in the world through the Indian Premier League, Breetzke has rubbed shoulders and tested himself against the same calibre of players through the SA20.
However, international cricket is a different ball game, and Breetzke knows to savour the opportunities he has been given thus far in his young career.
Ready for next step
“With a tournament like the SA20 it almost gets you used to international cricket in terms of the media and the crowds. Coming into the setup now I feel a bit more relaxed as compared to how I would have felt if I had come in three years ago,” Breetzke said on Friday.
“I can’t wait. It’s probably one of the best teams in the world and for me to go and challenge my skills against them it’s a special opportunity.”
This series will present a massive opportunity for the 25-year-old top-order batter to showcase his skills, having debuted in what was a dead rubber game a few months ago, a set of circumstances that saw him fail to free up and play his natural game.
However, this time around, Breetzke stands a chance to feature regularly with senior batter Quinton de Kock rested for the series.
Moreover, the Indian youngsters are fresh from a series victory over Australia earlier this month, and will come out guns blazing on Sunday looking to put the hosts under pressure with a particularly aggressive style of play.
India’s methods are unlikely to change regardless of the venue as the series will move over to Breetzke’s home ground in Gqeberha next week, before it concludes in Johannesburg.
The freedom to play
“My first game, I got the last game of the series and only got one shot at it. Hopefully I can get all the shots at this series and it definitely frees me up to be the best I can be,” said Breetzke.
“I think they will come out and play a lot of aggressive cricket, which they do in the IPL, and they also have a lot of new faces and I’m looking forward to challenging myself against the best in the world.
“We’re not here to just fill the numbers, we’re here to win the series.”
“Should the SABC be able to attract sponsorship, CSA is willing to conclude an agreement which will ensure the India tour is enjoyed by millions of South Africans.” a CSA statement read.