'Happy' Smuts to seize every Proteas opportunity

Jon Jon Smuts (Gallo Images)
Jon Jon Smuts (Gallo Images)

Proteas all-rounder Jon-Jon Smuts insists he will continue to seize every opportunity in order to represent his country.

Man-of-the-match Smuts smashed 84 off 98 balls to lead the Proteas to a six-wicket win in the dead ODI rubber in Potchefstroom this past weekend.

The Proteas sealed a 3-0 whitewash over Australia and recorded their first series win of the summer.

After being out of the national set-up for two years, Smuts returned to international cricket in 2020 in the limited overs series' against England and Australia.

Smuts came into the Proteas set-up as an injury replacement for batsman Temba Bavuma.

"It's a dream to play for South Africa and to be involved in all four T20s and ODIs series against England and Australia," Smuts told reporters following the Proteas' win on Saturday.

"Injuries do happen in the series and I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity through an injury. Opportunity for me but hard for Temba.

"I feel like in the last couple of years - in Mzansi Super League and Warriors cricket - I've put my name in the hat with the ball. I bowled really well, I've also had to produce the numbers with the bat."

When asked if he could see himself in the Proteas' T20 World Cup squad for Australia, the 31-year-old said he isn't thinking too far ahead.

"It's great to be a part of the system, it's a very competitive at the moment with everyone putting their hands up," said Smuts.

"If I'm playing, I'm happy. At the moment, I'm taking it series by series."

The Proteas left for India on Sunday morning and will take the necessarily precautions to keep their players and management staff safe in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

"We have India now, who are the best side in the world and in their conditions, they are going to be extremely difficult to beat," said Smuts.

"We've played at home this summer so it'll be a great test for us and to see how we're going to compete against the best sides in the world."

The first of three ODIs is scheduled for Thursday in Dharamshala (10:00 SA time).

Proteas ODI squad for India:

Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Kyle Verreynne, Heinrich Klaasen, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Jon-Jon Smuts, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Anrich Nortje, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj

Proteas fixtures in India:

1st ODI: Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium - 12 March

2nd ODI: Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium - 15 March

3rd ODI: Eden Gardens - 18 March

- Compiled by Lynn Butler

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