Cape Town - Rilee Rossouw could possibly be given the run as opener of the South African one-day international team if, in the worst-case scenario, Quinton de Kock, is ruled out of the Cricket World Cup, according to HD Ackerman, a former SA player, and Sarel Cilliers, Knights coach.
De Kock suffered an ankle injury during the course of the first Test between South Africa and the West Indies at SuperSport Park in Centurion, and was ruled out for six to twelve weeks, depending on the success of his rehabilitation programme.
Ackerman, in an interview with the supersport.com website, said Rossouw is a stroke-maker and a possible match-winner up the order.
“He is a very, very talented player. On some of the SA A tours, he was the best batsman of all. In the recent quadrangular series in Australia, he was the best batsman among all the teams that competed,” said Ackerman.
“I did not recognise the player on South Africa’s one-day tour of Australia. The way he constructed the innings was different from what I saw on that A tour,” Ackerman said.
Rossouw might have been affected by the unique pressure at international level, but he still believes he possesses the skill to excel for the Proteas. Ackerman, a well-known TV-analyst for SuperSport, said.
Rossouw is a No 3 batsman who has opened the innings in T20 matches for the Knights.
“I do think he could bat anywhere in the top three,” said Ackerman.
“Rilee prefers the ball coming onto the bat. He plays well on the up and will win matches for you at the top of the order. In Australian conditions he might be a good option to replace De Kock if the 21-year-old opener is ruled out due to a knee injury,” said Cilliers.
“He can change the momentum of the match. Rilee is a good player against the short ball. He can also upset the rhythm of the spinners and use the sweeps and reverse-sweeps to accelerate the run-rate.”
If the national selectors decide to restrict AB de Villiers’s role to that of batsman and captain and relieve him of the big gloves, Morne van Wyk should be endorsed as wicketkeeper-batsman, said Ackerman.
“Dane Vilas is another option, but Morne has been at a previous Cricket World Cup (in 2011). It could be a bit ask to require somebody like Dane to go on his first tour (to Australia in 2015),” Ackerman added.
Titans Rob Walter said Van Wyk’s age should not count against him.
“He has been striking the ball beautifully. Morne becomes a massive contender (if the selectors decide to rule AB out as wicketkeeper),” said Walter.
The Titans coach said Heino Kuhn could be another possibility as a like-for-like-replacement for De Kock.
Van Wyk has blossomed in the One Day Cup competition in 2014/2015-season and has blasted two centuries to put the Dolphins in the hunt for silverware. His strike-rate of 95.14 and a tally of 353 runs at an average of 176.50 have been standout features of his contributions.