Cool-headed Rassie puts hand up for higher Proteas honours

Rassie van der Dussen (Getty)
Rassie van der Dussen (Getty)

Manchester - Rassie van der Dussen fell agonisingly short of what would have been a superb maiden ODI ton against Australia at Old Trafford on Saturday, but in no way can that detract from what has been a stellar tournament for the middle-order batsman. 

Van der Dussen, in the international wilderness as recently as a year ago, has been one of the standouts for South Africa during an incredibly disappointing World Cup campaign for the national side.

On a team level, the last six weeks have been horrible and the quicker the Proteas move on, the better. 

On an individual level, however, Van der Dussen has used the World Cup as a platform to put his hand up for higher Proteas honours. 

He leaves the tournament with 311 runs in six innings at an average of 62.20, while overall Van der Dussen now averages 73.77 from his first 18 ODIs with seven half-centuries to his name.

Having been a constant at the Lions for the last six seasons, Van der Dussen's path to the Proteas has been the result of hard work and consistency at domestic level. 

He might be a late arrival on the international stage, but now that Van der Dussen has had a taste, he wants more. 

The Proteas are next in action when they travel to India in September for three T20s that will be followed by three Test matches, and it is difficult to see them going in without Van der Dussen. 

With the likes of Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn and even young Zubayr Hamza ahead of Van der Dussen in the Test pecking order, including the 30-year-old might not be straightforward. 

His efforts in England, however, paint the picture of a player who keeps his composure and is able to deliver his best in even the most trying situations. 

"Definitely," he said when asked if he was eyeing higher honours for the Proteas.

"At the start of the year I was just glad to get my opportunity and I knew what I was about as a player. I knew I could contribute to the team and luckily it has gone this way.

"I know I can play a role going forward in our team environment.

"I'll take a lot from this World Cup ... a lot of experiences and learnings and try and apply that going forward in all formats. If I get my chance again I will give it my best shot and continue to try and become a better player."

One of the perks that come with including Van der Dussen to international cricket at a late stage is that he already knew his game and didn't have to spend time figuring it out. 

That was evident on Saturday when Van der Dussen stayed patient as he struggled in the early stages of his innings. 

He was 5* off 25 balls at one stage, but Van der Dussen knew that he could catch up once he got over that testing period at the start of his innings.

"It was disappointing not to get a hundred, but it wasn't my day for one. I'll take the victory with 95 rather than a loss with a hundred," he said.

"I'd like to be a guy that performs under pressure when the team is down and really needs it. I think any World Cup game is a high pressure environment.

"I think I did okay and luckily today's innings was a match-winning contribution. We didn't have enough of those match winnings throughout the tournament and that's the disappointing thing."

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
India 325/10 & 69/0
New Zealand 62/10
Voting Booth
What are your views on the World Rugby men's Player of the Year nominations for 2021 not including any Springboks?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
It's a disgrace! Both Siya Kolisi AND Eben Etzebeth should have been nominated!
39% - 5542 votes
Siya, at the very least, should have been included after a superb season
7% - 936 votes
Etzebeth has been SA's best player this year and should feel hard done by
20% - 2886 votes
Get over it! Moaning about this just sounds like sour grapes!
34% - 4724 votes