Australia in SA
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Bloody SA baptism for Levi
Cape Town - Richard Levi, the new boy on the Proteas’ Twenty20 block, nearly got his international career off to a disastrous start without even hitting a ball against Australia.
South Africa tackle the Aussies in the first of two T20 internationals at Newlands on Thursday (18:00 start) and Levi, the big-hitting 23-year-old from home franchise the Cape Cobras, is expected to open the innings alongside seasoned former captain Graeme Smith.
But he had the misfortune of being struck on the head by a short delivery from pace-bowling team-mate Wayne Parnell which didn’t get up in the nets quite as much as he had anticipated on Monday.
Apparently part of his helmet - whilst the device as a whole went a long way to cushioning the blow - was responsible for a fairly nasty cut which required stitching, and he was immediately withdrawn from the session for treatment
But Levi, a former SA U19 stroke-player and product of Wynberg Boys High School, said at a media briefing on Tuesday that he was “all right” to be a candidate for selection in the match.
“I got hit by Parny and Doc (team manager Mohammed Moosajee) took care of me; I went back to the hotel and got seven stitches in the back of my head.”
Referring to his likely debut, Levi said: “The boys have been more than welcoming and made me feel very happy to be (among them), so I’m really looking forward to the challenge if picked.”
Asked about his fairly meteoric rise after not being even a guaranteed element in the Cobras’ plans a year or so back, he replied: “Yes, it’s been of an up-and-down road the past couple of years, so this was a little bit of a surprise and an unbelievable chance to have.”
Levi had mixed fortunes at the recent Champions League T20 tournament in India, where the Cobras receded disappointingly after a good start.
He scored 43 first-up against New South Wales, and then got six against the Chennai Super Kings and a duck against Trinidad and Tobago in the game which eliminated the South Africans ahead of the semi-finals.