Town - 2018 has been the year of the Springbok recovery, and coach Rassie Erasmus has
been central to the new-found optimism that currently surrounds the national
On Tuesday, South Africa was
formally introduced to another 'Rassie' in the form of Proteas debutant Rassie van der Dussen.
Now 29, the hard-hitting Lions
batsman has been on the domestic scene for seven years and he was finally given
his chance in the first T20I against Zimbabwe in East London.
Van der Dussen did not
Coming in with the Proteas in
trouble at 11/2, the lanky No 4 was calm, composed and capable as he helped the
hosts post 160/6 from their 20 overs.
Van der Dussen hit five 4s and
one 6 in his 44-ball knock of 56 in a start to his international career that he
would later describe as "near
The Proteas emerged as
comfortable 34-run winners, and while Imran Tahir's 5/23 stole the headlines,
Van der Dussen's contribution was equally valuable.
A look at his first-class
statistics clearly reveals the class of the player.
Van der Dussen finished the
2017/18 Sunfoil Series as the leading run-scorer in the format, while he
averages 42.96 from his 105
In the shorter formats, Van der
Dussen is just as impressive.
He averages 43.57 from 84 List A matches and 34.48 from 71 T20s at strike rate of 127.33.
Those numbers suggest that Van
der Dussen could have been introduced to international cricket earlier, but the
competition for places in the South Africa middle-order has been stiff for a
long time now.
There are, however, still some
unanswered questions when it comes to what that middle order will look like at
next year's World Cup in England.
Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf
du Plessis and JP Duminy will take up four slots, but the likes of Aiden
Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Khaya Zondo, Christiaan Jonker and David Miller are
all battling it out for what is likely to be two more specialist batting
He may not have been in the plans
initially, but if Van der Dussen dishes up two more impressive performances in
the next two T20Is on Friday and Sunday, then he will hope to be named in the
ODI squad that will leave for Australia later in the month.
It is early days yet, but Van der
Dussen looks like he belongs on the international stage.
Friday's second T20I will start at 18:00 in Potchefstroom.