Rudolph knocking on SA door
Johannesburg - Jacques Rudolph not only impressed with his leadership skills but also knocked on the selectors' door for promotion to the Proteas during the South Africa 'A' side's triangular series against a Zimbabwe XI and Australia A during July.
Whether he did enough to kick the door down remains to be seen but his three scores of 90 plus made him far-and-away the leading runs scorer on any of the three sides and head coach Vincent Barnes praised him for his hunger and calmness under pressure.
"I personally had a good tour," remarked Rudolph. "I think my new leadership role has helped me to up my game but more importantly I am at a stage of my career where I know what I need to do when it comes to my cricket."
The South Africans won both their matches against what was very close to a full strength Zimbabwe side but lost all three against Australia.
The only bad loss was in the first match when they were brushing off the rust from an inactive period of several months.
The Australian side was also a strong one with three of the players - David Warner, Aaron Finch and John Hastings - being first choices for the Australian T20 team to take on Sri Lanka.
Rudolph apart (309 runs at 61.80 and a strike rate of 80.25), the best batting performances came from Rilee Rossouw (157 runs at 39.25 and a strike rate of (88.20) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (132 runs at 44 and a strike rate of 89.18). Significantly both the latter players missed out on original selection and only got their chances through withdrawals.
The bowlers lacked consistency although Vernon Philander, Craig Alexander and Rusty Theron all had their moments. Between them they took 23 of the 35 wickets that fell to the South African attack.
Barnes said, "In all fairness the bowlers were coming from a three-month lay-off and improved really well in the 10 days that we were there. Ultimately it is up to them to take their opportunities when they arise. It was great to have Vinnie and Allan's input in the bowling department, and their wealth of international experience were invaluable."