Rassie van der Dussen hopes to put in ‘strong performances’ at SA20 for T20 World Cup spot

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The pair have been first off the blocks at the SA20, with Rickelton leading the run charts with scores of 87 and 98 from the first two games and van der Dussen smashing a 50-ball 104 at the weekend. It was van der Dussen’s fourth T20 century but first in ten years and serves as a reminder of what he can do in this format, especially as an opener.

“There’s a T20 World Cup later this year and I want to be in a position to hopefully put in strong performances for that,” van der Dussen, who has only played two T20Is since August 2022, said after his hundred in Johannesburg. “The last few series, I haven’t been playing and there’ve been some guys who have played really well. The last time I played was against Australia where I got one or two starts but I did not really convert. I am realistic in the sense that maybe my international T20 numbers in the last year or two, albeit not being bad, haven’t shot the lights out.”

In his last seven T20Is, van der Dussen scored a total of 63 runs and has only gone past 20 once. Before that, he scored 1008 runs in 32 T20I innings at an average of 42.00 and a strike-rate of 132.80 and it’s those kinds of numbers he believes could force him into the national side. “I know what I can do. I know what kind of T20 player I can be and hopefully today is the start of that,” he said.

With no T20Is before South Africa name their squad to go to West Indies (where they will play three matches before the World Cup starts), white-ball coach Rob Walter indicated he will use the SA20 and other leagues to select his final XV and van der Dussen has lined up the tournaments he will use as auditions as best he could. “I have this SA20, then I am going to PSL and then we have domestic CSA T20, so it’s going to be three to four months of T20 cricket and I can really focus on that,” he said. “As a player all you can really do is put on the performances and put the numbers on the board. I am not special, I am not above anyone else. If it’s going to be a shoot out but if they are going to select performances, then your name needs to be up there.”

“Quinny (Quinton de Kock) will be moving on and Ryan fits into that mould of someone who can replace Quinny. He definitely has the game. He’s very resilient and sometimes setbacks give you a platform to come back.”

Van der Dussen on Ryan Rickleton

One of his direct competitors is his MI Cape Town team-mate, Rickelton, who was overlooked for all South Africa’s squads against India this summer, despite being considered across formats last season. There hasn’t been an official reason given for Rickelton’s omission, particularly in Tests where red-ball coach Shukri Conrad identified him as a batter he could build a side around, and van der Dussen’s assessment was that Rickelton has been unlucky.

“I think he’s been hard done by to not be involved in any of the squads against India. He’s had a really good two to three years in all formats and he was in the mix earlier in the year and got left out. I know how badly he wants to play international cricket. He has had a taste of it at Test level but he is a brilliant fifty-over and Test player,” van der Dussen said.

Like van der Dussen, Rickelton has had most of his success at T20 level as an opener and van der Dussen sees a spot for him in both white-ball formats for South Africa. “Quinny (de Kock) will be moving on and Ryan fits into that mould of someone who can replace Quinny. He definitely has the game. He’s very resilient and sometimes setbacks give you a platform to come back,” van der Dussen said.

De Kock has retired from ODIs but remains available for South Africa in T20Is, although that may not be guaranteed. Late last year, Walter confirmed de Kock wanted to walk away from international cricket entirely but was convinced to stay on. There is every chance he may change his mind ahead of the World Cup but even if he does not, his opening partner is not secured. Reeza Hendricks is the most likely candidate but van der Dussen believes Rickelton, who is uncapped in T20Is, could make a strong case.

“I know how hard he works, he keeps his head down, he was disappointed not to be in the Proteas squads, anyone would be, but he has worked on it,” van der Dussen said. “I really hope it continues and he has a strong tournament to remind people he’s still there and he’s a world class player. I’ve seen what he can do and I suppose if he puts the numbers on, you can’t really ignore him.”

MI Cape Town’s next match is against Sunrisers Eastern Cape at Newlands on Tuesday.

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