Hendricks ready to step into breach left by Steyn
There’s no mistaking Beuran Hendricks for Dale Steyn‚ but that’s what South Africa will expect in the rest of the World Cup.
Hendricks joined the squad in Southampton on Wednesday‚ hours after Steyn had been ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury.
Steyn‚ 35‚ is the pre-eminent fast bowler of the age with 125 one-day international caps and 196 wickets to his name after almost 14 years of playing at that level.
Hendricks‚ 28‚ made his ODI debut against Pakistan in Centurion in January.
Steyn is right-arm fast‚ Hendricks left-arm fastish.
But here Hendricks is‚ ready and willing to fill the breach.
“When I got the call I didn’t know who I was replacing‚” he said.
“Then I saw in the media it was Dale‚ which is a massive blow.
“I’m not going to say I can fill his shoes because … it’s Dale.
“But I come here with my own set of skills and my own ambitions in this competition.
“It’s about making sure I can fight the good fight and make a contribution with the skills that I have.”
Hendricks stepped into the dressingroom in the throes of South Africa slumping to a six-wicket defeat at the hands of India‚ which followed losses to England and Bangladesh.
That constitutes South Africa’s worst run in a World Cup — they have never lost three consecutive matches in the tournament.
To keep alive serious hopes of reaching the semi-finals they will have to win all six of their remaining games.
So how’s the mood?
“For me? Good. I’m excited to be here. In the dressingroom there’s disappointment.
“I’m feeling the hurt as well‚ but the tournament’s not over. Let’s pick up from here and keep on fighting.”
Steyn’s fate was South Africa’s biggest headache until Thursday‚ when news broke that the retired AB de Villiers’ offer to return to the fold had been declined by the selectors.
In the context of South Africa’s poor results‚ De Villiers is being cast in some quarters as a rejected saviour.
Instead‚ it will be up to players like Hendricks to try and rescue South Africa’s World Cup.
“I’ve been preparing since I got the call to be on standby‚” he said.
“It’s been about three weeks now‚ and I’ve got enough training in to come here and be prepared.”
South Africa stay in Southampton to play their next match‚ against West Indies on Monday.
That’s good news for Hendricks. The last time he was there‚ playing a first-class match for South Africa A against Hampshire in June 2017‚ he took 5/20 in the second innings.
Something like that would go a long way to keeping South Africa’s heads above water on Monday.