VIDEO: Proteas can show we’re here to play in England opener, says Van der Dussen
Rassie van der Dussen appears to be one of the Proteas’ best-kept ‘secrets’.
Otherwise, how do you explain where the 30-year-old has been all this time?
Van der Dussen only made his one-day international debut on 19 January this year, but was still able to force his way into the South African squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
He did that with the sheer weight of runs in the nine ODIs he’s played in, scoring 353 at a remarkable average of 88.25, including four half-centuries.
His calm demeanour at the crease is just what the Proteas need in those pressure-filled middle overs, where he keeps the scoreboard ticking along.
“I’m very excited. The Mzansi Super League is, where I think, it started a few months ago. And it was a good platform for me to just show what I can do,” Van der Dussen told the media ahead of the World Cup.
“A lot of gratitude from my side has to go to Ottis and Linda Zondi, convenor of selectors, to give me that chance on the back of some good T20 local performances.
“So, going into a World Cup, just really excited to represent the country, and have that platform.”
But just how does he keep his cool, when the tension often results in a batsman playing a loose shot in trying to get quick runs?
“You go out there and prepare for the bowlers that you are going to face, and the opposition you are going to come up against,” Van der Dussen said.
“As a player, you have your game plans and your mental triggers and strategies, and then all those things come together.
“For me, the big thing was, over the last few years, to try to be at my best in every moment and every ball, and break it down into sort of manageable goals like that, I suppose.
“And that is what I am going to look to do going forward as well – just to go out there and make sure that you are your best (in) every moment, because you know the opposition will be.”
The Proteas have been flying under the radar somewhat when it comes to be being regarded as World Cup contenders, but Van der Dussen is quietly confident.
He thinks that the opener against England on 30 May is a chance for the South Africans to make their mark.
“We’ve got a really good opportunity to go out there and show the rest of the teams that we are here to play, even though we are not a favourite on the books as such.
“We’ve got game-breakers from one to 11, and I think we are going to be really strong contenders.”