Van Wyk gets call-up

2014-12-04 00:00

THERE’S nothing better than breaking good news to someone who is totally ­unaware of what’s coming.

Yesterday, Cricket South Africa (CSA) named a 30-man preliminary World Cup squad that will be cut to 15 next month.

One of the surprises is Dolphins ­captain Morné van Wyk, who was taken aback at the news when contacted by The Witness yesterday.

“Wow. That’s great news. I haven’t had such good news for a long time,” was his reaction.

At 35, Van Wyk is one of the senior statesmen of franchise cricket and his inclusion in the squad is testimony to his approach to a game he respects and ­values.

He is no stranger to ODI cricket, having played 13 matches for the Proteas, but he has been overlooked in the past, the selectors keeping faith with Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers and more recently Quinton de Kock as the wicket-keeper batsmen in the side.

His last ODI was at the 2011 World Cup, against Bangladesh, in Mirpur, where he kept wicket, batted at six and contributed five in a total of 284.

Since then, he has slotted into franchise cricket, piling up runs for the Knights before joining the Dolphins last season. He continues to contribute in all forms of domestic cricket, his leadership qualities and attacking batting an example to the younger players around him.

People had forgotten about him, seeing him as a loyal franchise player and no more. Now he finds himself in the 30-man squad and even if he does not make the final 15, it’s a round of applause for him to achieve such a listing at his age.

“I’ve enjoyed a good one-day season so far and that has obviously made the selectors sit up and take note,” said Van Wyk.

Indeed he has. As the domestic One-Day Cup takes a break after six matches, Van Wyk finds himself second on the most runs list with 353 from five innings at an inflated average of 176,50. That average aside, he knocked up two undefeated hundreds — 121* against the Titans and 175* against the Knights — carrying his bat both times in what were vintage performances at the crease.

“I was aware the first round of One- Day Cup matches were important and obviously I would love the opportunity to be in the final 15 for the World Cup and be part of the team,” he said.

“To my thinking, it seems I am being seen as a second keeper, a back-up to Quinton [de Kock] as AB does not seem to keep in ODIs any longer.

“I feel I can still contribute and have played at this level and on the same stage previously. At the end of the day, it lies in the thinking of the selectors.”

All the familiar names are in the squad, which is captained by De Villiers. Other than Van Wyk, Andrew Puttick (Cobras), who has scored 394 runs in the One-Day Cup this season, Chris Morris (Lions), Justin Ontong (Cobras), Mthokozisi Shezi (Cobras), Beuran Hendricks (Cobras), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Lions) and Rory Kleinveldt (Cobras) are interesting selections.

JP Duminy is considered as is Imran Tahir, who joins Robin Peterson and Aaron Phangiso as the spinning options.

On the quick bowling front, there is a plethora of talent — Hendricks, Kyle Abbott, Marchant de Lange, Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, Morné Morkel, Morris, Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Shezi, Dale Steyn and Tsotsobe. David Miller keeps his ambitions alive, as do Titans all-rounders Farhaan Berhardien and David Wiese.

Proteas Preliminary World Cup Squad:

AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, (vice-capt), Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morné Morkel, Chris Morris, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Andrew Puttick, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morné van Wyk, David Wiese.

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