Johannesburg - Unlimited Titans opener Jacques Rudolph insists he has all the credentials and should be given more respect as a 20-over player ahead of their Champions League Twenty20 opener against Chennai Super Kings in Ranchi, India, on Sunday.
According to the supersport.com website, the 32-year-old has mainly been seen as a four-day or test batsman through his career, a tag he has likely inherited from representing South Africa most commonly in the game’s longest format.
Rudolph has played in 48 tests for his country over the years, but never really had the chance to establish himself in the one-day side where he has turned out 45 times. He has also played a solitary T20 international.
“I think it’s quite unfortunate that a lot of people only see me as a test or four-day player,” he told supersport.com. “If you look at my one-day stats, I average close to 50 and I average over 30 in T20 cricket, so that perception is sad.”
During the off season, Rudolph even spent six weeks in the West Indies playing for eventual champions Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League.
“It was a very good experience, the wickets were a bit difficult and the conditions were tough, but all in all, considering it was a first-time outing, it was nice for me to play there,” he said. “Fortunately I was part of the winning team, which was quite nice.
“I didn’t score as much as I wanted to. As you know I’m a top order batter and over there I had to bat No 5 and six, something I wasn’t really accustomed to. So I found that a bit difficult, but it was still a valuable experience for me.”
He has since been involved in pre-season training with the Titans, who are pooled in Group B for the September 21 to October 6 competition. Apart from IPL giants Chennai, their group also include Australia’s Big Bash League winners Brisbane Heat, Trinidad & Tobago, winners of the Caribbean Twenty20, and either of Otago from New Zealand or another Indian side Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Rudolph continued: “Pre-season went unbelievably well. Unfortunately I didn’t spent too much of time at the Titans because I was overseas.
“But I think I can safely say that in my years at the Titans, it’s by far the fittest I’ve seen our guys. They’re in prime shape and excited about getting started with the Champions League.”
Last season, the Titans reached the semifinal of the competition when it was hosted by South Africa, losing out to eventual champions Sydney Sixers.
Rudolph, the top run-getter for the Pretoria franchise in that competition, also felt the current squad was more than capable of success in India, despite some of their key players like Albie Morkel and Faf du Plessis, the Proteas’ T20 skipper, opting to play for overseas clubs.
“Unfortunately we’re missing Albie and Faf for this tournament, but to lose them and gain guys like AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel and Marchant de Lange does balance things up,” he added.
“The presence of AB and Morne especially goes a long way, especially for the younger players in our squad. So it’s possibly one of the best squads I’ve been involved in for the Titans.”