“THE incredibly exciting Reeza Hendricks possesses the pedigree and talent to convert his limited-format form into Test cricket,” said Andrew Hudson, outgoing chairperson of the national selectors.
Hendricks is one of a quartet of players without Test experience who were selected for the South African Test squad for the tour of Bangladesh. The others are Kagiso Rabada, Aaron Phangiso and Dane Vilas.
Hendricks, a talented stroke-maker and clean hitter of the ball, made his T20-debut for South Africa in the series against Australia in November 2014. He scored 49 off 48 balls in the third match.
He impressed in the one-day series against the England Lions, smashing 141 for South Africa A in Kimberley and 107 in Benoni.
Hudson is confident Hendricks can convert that limited-overs form into Tests a la David Warner, who first made an impression for Australia in the T20-format (debuting in January 2009) and later flourished in the white uniform.
The national chairperson said there has been a dramatic shift in the style of Test cricket lately. It’s no longer always adequate to reach the safety of the dressing room after a sedate morning session having scored 40.
A more explosive style can see an opener score a quick-fire 60 in that period, change the complexion of the game and win you a Test.
“I have told Reeza that he is not guaranteed to replace Alviro Petersen as opener. We have a certain queue and Stiaan van Zyl is in the front, followed by Temba [Bavuma] and then Reeza.
“But we do think Reeza has the pedigree to perform and to convert his limited-format form into Test cricket and grow into a very good player,” added Hudson.
Dean Elgar, the senior incumbent as Test opener, played with Hendricks at the Chevrolet Knights and South Africa and has backed the selection. “It is the right call. He is young and can develop. We all know he possesses the talent and has performed well the past two seasons.”
Although Hendricks has been devastating occasionally in List A-cricket and averages 38,12 in that format, his first-class record in domestic matches has not been outstanding the past two seasons.
He averaged 36,20 in the 2013/2014-season and 31,76 in the 2014/2015-season.
Probed about this, Sarel Cilliers, his domestic Knights-coach, said the management is working tirelessly with Hendricks to improve his defensive qualities.
“He has sound judgment and is a pure and very clean striker of the ball. When he gets in, he can make massive scores, but what has dented his average, is that there was a few scores between 0 and 10 where he failed against the new ball,” he added.
“We are excited that he got a chance. He has been involved at first-class level for some time, and has made his mark,” said Cilliers.