Andile learns from masters

Proteas all-rounder hones his limited-overs craft

Andile Phehlukwayo in action for the Proteas during the first match in the One Day International series against Australia
Andile Phehlukwayo in action for the Proteas during the first match in the One Day International series against Australia

Bowling with some of the world’s best fast bowlers has motivated Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo to lift his game with the ball.

Phehlukwayo proved his wicket-taking potential with 3/33 in the first one-day international against Australia in Perth on Sunday, which the Proteas won comfortably by six wickets.

The 22-year-old has a clever armoury of variations as one of his strengths and has taken 43 wickets, with a career-best of 4/40 in the 34 matches he has played.

He said bowling alongside the express pace and talent of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi was the perfect learning opportunity as he continued to master his craft in limited-overs cricket.

“It is a massive privilege,” he said of bowling in tandem with the fast bowlers.

“If you look around, there is Steyn, Rabada and Ngidi, you try to execute your skills to your best ability,” he said.

“They force you to be at the level they are at and that is a good thing in the team environment.

“In any seam attack, if any individual had to bowl with those guys, they would learn a lot,” Phehlukwayo said.

“They have a lot of experience, talent and a lot of skills.”

The Proteas camp is a happy group following the win on Sunday, and have regrouped in Adelaide with a new set of goals and perspective ahead of the second ODI at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.

The possibility of a series win is not the main focus, but rather a determination to execute the basics and to continue raising the bar through preparation.

“We are confident,” Phehlukwayo said after the squad’s practice at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.

“The guys have been working hard and have been doing extra at practice.

“As a team we pride ourselves on working hard and hopefully with the hard work, the results can take care of themselves.”

Meanwhile, Australia batsman Shaun Marsh is hopeful of playing in the second one-day international after having surgery on an abscess on his buttock, teammate Alex Carey said on Wednesday.

Marsh missed the six-wicket thrashing by South Africa in the series-opener in Perth on Sunday due to the problem, with Ben McDermott brought into the squad as cover.

“He is pretty positive that he’ll be right for Friday,” vice-captain Carey said.

“[In the] last series over in England Shaun was sensational, scoring two hundreds for us.

“So for SOS [Marsh] to come in at three and probably play a bit of an anchor role around some of those top order explosive players, it’s a little bit of stability up the top, hopefully.”

Australia were skittled for 152 by South Africa’s formidable attack and slumped to their 17th defeat in 19 matches, raising alarm bells only seven months out from their World Cup defence in England.

The team has also had to battle distractions caused by a scathing cultural review of Cricket Australia commissioned in the wake of the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.

Cricket pundits have lined up to put the boot into Aaron Finch’s team and their brittle batting order, but Carey said the side were primed to turn a corner.

“We’re really confident still, obviously the conditions were quite tough over there [in Perth] but that’s no excuse,” the wicketkeeper-batsman said.

“The work we’re doing off the field with JL [coach Justin Langer] and the players coming in, we’re doing so much good stuff and it’s going to start to show.”

Australia went with a fourpronged pace attack in Perth but was unable to do much to halt SA’s charge to victory.- Reuters