Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
17 Jan 2019
10:02 am

Is Rassie suddenly a Proteas trump card for the World Cup?

Heinz Schenk

National coach Ottis Gibson certainly is a fan of striking while the iron...or player...is hot.

Rassie van der Dussen of the Proteas during the1st KFC T20 Intentional match between South Africa and Zimbabwe at Buffalo Park on October 09, 2018 in East London, South Africa. (Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images)

Proteas coach Ottis Gibson loves talking philosophically about cricket, but he’s not particularly keen on singling out individuals.

That became clear again following South Africa’s 3-0 Test series whitewash against Pakistan, where the West Indian mentioned there’s no individual-based culture in the side.

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So it was noticeable how Gibson talked at length about Rassie van der Dussen, one of only two new caps for the upcoming one-day series against the visitors.

The 29-year-old Highveld Lions star is a mature figure in any dressing room and has steadily made a name for himself on various stages.

He was also the leading run-scorer in the Mzansi Super League and made 56 on his T20 international debut.

Now, Gibson believes he’s an ideal “floater” in the middle-order.

“Someone like Rassie is very interesting,” said the Proteas coach.

“I’m not saying he’s suddenly going to the World Cup, but he’s show that he can bat anywhere from No 3 to No 6. That’s the type of guy that comes heavily into our conversations.”

What Van der Dussen also represents is the age old debate on whether you pick players that have served you well over a period of time or whether you reserve a spot for one guy who’s simply in red-hot form.

After all, a World Cup is only about six weeks, enough for an inexperienced player to make an impact simply based on his confidence.

“Rassie’s in form, but when he was with us for the T20s against Zimbabwe he made a strong name for himself too. Everywhere he’s gone to and played he’s made an impression,” said Gibson.

“The general consensus is to pick a guy when he’s hot and Rassie’s fire is certainly burning big at the moment.”

The same applies to Duanne Olivier, the star of the recent Test series, who’s been drafted in to replace the resting Dale Steyn for the first two ODIs, starting in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

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