Unnecessary pressure for new SA ODI member Phehlukwayo
You take nine wickets in six limited overs matches at a decent average and a respectable economy rate. Five of those wickets belong to batsmen in the top three.
Only one is a tailender’s. You bowl more overs than anyone else in your team in those games‚ which are played at a level designed to identify those who could go further.
Clearly‚ you are one of those players.
Your performances in other matches in other seasons have suggested just that.
Now you have taken that step up the ladder.
So you are duly picked in the squad to play at the level above. That’s when the noise starts. At 20 and having played only 18 first-class matches and 24 list A games, you are said to be too young and inexperienced to be hoisted to the big league.
Obviously your selection is politically motivated.
You are‚ you see‚ black African in South Africa.
That means you are part of a society in which cricket is still struggling to be accepted by some as a game for all.
And where increasing pressure is being put on administrators by government to make cricket more representative.
One of the twin edges of that sword cuts in your favour.
The other‚ thanks largely to the anti-social poison called social media‚ does not.
Welcome to your life‚ Andile Phehlukwayo – who on Tuesday was included in the South African squad to play six ODIs against Ireland and Australia starting on September 25.
Phehlukwayo‚ a Dolphins fast bowler with big hitting potential‚ cracked the nod with a solid performance on SA A’s tour to Australia.
Whether his ODI debut is imminent is moot.
If he does win his first cap he will have earned it.
If he does not, then time spent in the nets and in the dressing room as part of an SA squad can only do him good. So‚ why the noise? “That’s coming from people who probably don’t understand cricket‚” former South Africa fast bowler Roger Telemachus‚ now coach of the KwaZulu-Natal amateur team‚ said.
What might Phehlukwayo add to the SA mix?
“He’s an exciting player and that’s what he’ll bring to the team – excitement‚” Telemachus said.
“He’s a young talent who hits the ball a mile if he gets it right and his bowling has been up there with good skill and pace.
“He can push batsmen back and that’s what South African cricket needs.
“We talk about looking for that extra seamer who can bat at No 7 and he can give you that.
“He’s not ready for test cricket yet, but he’s definitely ready for white-ball cricket at international level.
“Give the oke a chance. He should be rewarded for doing well. He deserves it.”
That he does‚ just as he doesn’t deserve the noise.