Town - Proteas skipper Faf
du Plessis said a couple of weeks ago that "12 or
13" of the men who will be going to the World Cup in England next year
have been locked in.
The skipper added, however, that
there would always be room for a couple of players who enter that tournament in
"red hot form".
Hendricks, even if not part of the strongest South African XI currently, is
probably one of the players Du Plessis was referring to when he spoke about
those who had already punched their tickets to England.
Before the recently-completed
tour to Australia, Du Plessis suggested that it was a "straight
shootout" between Hendricks and Aiden Markram for the No 3 berth in the
Markram may have edged ahead
slightly in Australia, but when talking about 'red hot' form there is nobody in
the country that can compete with Hendricks right now.
Having opened his Mzansi Super
League (MSL) account for the Jozi Stars with a duck against the Cape Town Blitz
on November 24, Hendricks has turned it on since then to race to the top of the
run scoring charts.
Scores of 55 (48), 104* (51) and 108* (62) against
the Tshwane Spartans, Durban Heat and Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, respectively,
have put the 29-year-old very firmly in the spotlight.
Perhaps most impressive is the way
Hendricks went about his business in those knocks. His strike rates,
particularly in his last two innings, suggest that he was going hell to
A closer look at Hendricks' approach,
though, reveals that he relied on nothing more than intelligent, well-executed
cricket shots to score his runs.
It was refreshing to see in the sometimes-frantic
world of T20 cricket and batting, in particular.
Markram has also found a touch of
form, with scores of 50
(39) and 48
(39) his last two contribution for the Paarl Rocks.
As the World Cup nears, however,
perhaps this battle is not only about Hendricks and Markram and the No 3 spot.
Veteran Hashim Amla, expected
to open the batting alongside Quinton de Kock in England, was dropped from the
Durban Heat side that lost to the Rocks on Sunday.
He hasn't had many of them in
what has been one of the great South African careers to date, but Amla is
experiencing a lean run.
His MSL scores this season read:
15, 24, 12, 0 and 4.
He was injured for South Africa's
tour of Australia, but his scores in his last 5 knocks in the Caribbean Premier
League also paint a picture of tough times: 15, 3, 2, 35 and 3.
The general feeling with Amla is
that he will not be down for long and that a return to form and big runs is around
There is certainly enough cricket
to be played (5 ODIs against Pakistan and 5 against Sri Lanka) between now and
the World Cup, and Amla finding his feet before then will be high up on the
list of priorities for Du Plessis and the Proteas brains trust.
But if, for whatever reason, that
does not happen, then Hendricks is looking more and more the type of player who
can be backed alongside De Kock.
He, like Markram, is flexible
enough to either open or come in at No 3 or No 4. While it may make selection
difficult, having players in form is nothing but good news for South African
cricket in an effort to win a first ever World Cup trophy.
There is obviously still a long
way to go, but that means that there is enough time left for players to make
themselves indispensable to the national cause.
With two classy centuries in just
three days, Hendricks is well on the right track to doing just that.
He will next be in action on
Tuesday when the Stars take on the Blitz at Newlands.
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