ICC Champions Trophy

McLaren out to cement his spot

2013-06-04 19:11
Ryan McLaren (Getty Images)
Cardiff - Ryan McLaren hopes the ICC Champions Trophy will be the tournament where he cements his position as the all-rounder in the Proteas’ Castle Lager ODI team. McLaren top-scored with 55 in South Africa’s warm-up match against Pakistan on Monday, and gained valuable time at the crease ahead of the tournament opener on Thursday.

"It was great to get out in the middle and to have some good match intensity," he said of his 72-ball 55.

"Even though I was at the IPL I didn’t have a lot of match time so it was good to spend some time at the crease.

Although it was a warm-up game there is nothing that compares to that match intensity. I will definitely take some confidence from the knock going into that first game on Thursday."

Although the absence of Jacques Kallis  is undoubtedly being felt, it becomes an opportunity for McLaren to successfully occupy the role within the team. He proved his strengths with the ball during the home series against Pakistan and will be invaluable at No.7 if he comes off with the bat.

"He (Kallis) is one of the best cricketers South Africa has produced and to replace a player like that will be difficult," he said.

"I have a specific role in the team, different in the sense that I bat lower down the order, so for me it’s about focusing entirely on what is required of me batting at the back end of the innings and also taking the ball at first change."

He has only played 22 matches for South Africa over a four-year period, but has recently become a regular option for the Proteas after finishing as the joint highest wicket-taker in the series against New Zealand.

He was also awarded a Cricket South Africa national contract for the 2013/2014 season.

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