Thami aims to shine in England
13 July 2012 | Heinz Schenk
ONE can’t take away that Thami Tsolekile is flying out to England to represent his country – it’s a big honour in any context.
But on the eve of his departure, the reality struck home vividly that the Highveld Lions vice-captain looks set to play a peripheral role throughout the tour.
There was no explicit admission from Tsolekile in that regard but it was certainly implied by his constant “if I play” disclaimers.
Nonetheless, given the immediacy and unexpectedness of his call-up, the 31-year-old noted that his two appearances for South Africa ‘A’ in the past few weeks at least gave him some form of match fitness.
“In any sport, preparation is very important so I’m fortunate that I had the South African ‘A’ games to gain some game-time,” said Tsolekile. “I really would’ve like to spend more time at the crease but I feel well prepared. I’m just really happy to be back in the squad.”
The selectors’ inclination towards employing AB de Villiers as gloveman for the Test series is influenced by the fact that Tsolekile last appeared on the international stage in late 2004 – ironically against England – but the national contract he holds plus his first-class experience does make it easier to question why his case for a Test spot at least hasn’t been more vigorously discussed.
“I’ve been to England twice before and even played club cricket there, so I’m not scared to admit that I’m familiar with conditions,” said Tsolekile.
“It’s certainly a tough place to tour but I do have experience there.”
In fact, his international stint was low key to such an extent that he admits it feels as if he’ll make his debut again.
“I’ve actually realised that I was only 23 at that stage. It was almost overwhelming but it’s nine years later now. Obviously it almost feels like you’ll make your debut again but I’ve gained a lot of experience and my last three years in Johannesburg have given me a lot of confidence.”
You can’t shake the feeling it’s code for one small utterance – “Just give me a chance!”
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