At the end of the 2014/2015-season, Dane Piedt didn’t think he would represent South Africa again.
Now, after an emotional roller-coaster which lasted 11 months, the attacking Cape Cobras off-spinner has been selected for the South African Test squad to tour India.
His return to the South African team was confirmed with the selection of the Test squad on Thursday.
Piedt nipped out 11 batsmen in the unofficial two-Test series for South Africa A against India A and was particularly impressive with his return of 5-85 in the first match at Wayanad.
‘The past week has been very emotional. Wednesday was 11 months to the day that I had [shoulder] surgery and today is the 13 month-anniversary of my girlfriend, Misha Torien, and I,’ Piedt said.
Piedt (25) made his Test debut against Zimbabwe in 2014 after capturing 45 Sunfoil series wickets in the 2013/2014-season. He captured 8-152 on Test debut, but his winter of hope turned into a summer of despair when he fell badly on his shoulder and needed surgery.
His return to first-class cricket was unspectacular, as he took 1-187 against the England Lions, 3-100 against the same foe and 0-104 against the Chevrolet Knights.
‘At the end of last season, I was thinking I would never play for South Africa again. I just could not land the ball where I wanted it,’ he said.
The self-doubt was excruciating, but the work in the off-season paid off handsomely. On the SA A tour to India, he captured 11 wickets in the two four day games. ‘It was about control, consistency and having a set plan against each batsman’ he said.
Piedt is an attacking off-spinner who also has the so-called ‘carrom ball’ and the ‘doosra’ in his repertoire. ‘But I think most wickets amongst the 190 I have taken has been with my stock delivery. I might have taken 10 with my varieties,’ he estimates.
When asked if the selection of the South African team means there would be a straight shoot-out between him and Simon Harmer, Piedt answered philosophically: ‘No, it is about being together on the same journey, and winning games for South Africa together. My father drummed it into me that it is always about the team first.
‘If I am asked to carry drinks for South Africa, and if that is my role, I will do it, as long as we win.’