There’s never a timely injury in any sport, especially when you’re a 20-year-old.
But Andile Phehlukwayo, a member of the Proteas’ T20 squad for the series against Sri Lanka, quickly realised he needed to take an unfortunate groin injury in his stride.
The exciting all-rounder took international cricket by storm last year, winning the Man-of-the-Series award in the ODI whitewash of Australia in October.
He was ready to apply his newfound experience in the domestic T20 competition before pulling up in the second over of his first game.
“It was really unfortunate that I got injured at that time. I was really excited for the domestic T20 campaign. I would’ve liked to really contribute and get confidence,” said Phehlukwayo.
“But the break had as much of a positive effect as negative. I went away and thought about the processes that I went through to get into international cricket. I thought about the things I did well.”
It’s a really sensible way of looking at things and might benefit the South Coast native greatly.
Phehlukwayo’s rise has been close to meteoric.
Picked as an upcoming prospect for South Africa ‘A’, he impressed so much that he was fast-tracked into the national side.
And to be the leading wicket-taker against a strong Aussie batting order is no small feat.
Most players would need a period to contemplate such a period of success.
Phehlukwayo had more than most.
“I’m aware of the things I need to do, how I need to train and the questions that I need to ask,” he said.
“I just want to make an impact in this series. Hopefully I’m in a position where I can win games for my country. I’d like to contribute in any aspect of the game.”
With the Proteas bowling attack considering an “aggressive” approach against the brittle Sri Lankan batters, there is the mouthwatering prospect of Phehlukwayo of putting up his hand for the new ball.
“It’s definitely a challenge I’d embrace,” he said.
“I’ve been put in that situation before by the Dolphins and really enjoyed it. It’s important for a cricketer to experience different roles and responsibilities.”