David Wiese says the two-match T20 International series against New Zealand is an opportunity for inexperienced players to stamp their mark on the international scene.
New Zealand enter the series without some of their star players, while the Proteas continue to tinker in search of winning combinations.
‘They may be missing a few of their big names but there are a couple of young guys who want to stand up and make their mark in international cricket, that makes them a dangerous team,’ Wiese said of the opposition in Durban on Wednesday.
‘When you have young hungry guys going out wanting to make an impact, they could take any team apart on the day.’
For the Proteas, the Twenty20 World Cup is the looming goal, and healthy competition for places gives every match significance for the players. JP Duminy’s absence has placed more emphasis on Wiese’s role in the team, especially as he looks to establish himself in the all-rounder role for the Proteas in limited-overs cricket.
‘To be honest not really,’ he said of the pressure of expectation. ‘There has been a lot of hype and a lot has been said [about his capabilities] but in my mind it’s all about stepping out onto the field and doing my best while contributing to the team. If it turns out that way that it works out for me and the team then that will be great but at this stage I will take it as it comes.’
Wiese has become a feature in domestic T20 leagues around the world this year, and played in his debut seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) along with South Africa’s Ram Slam T20 Challenge.
He says he has taken a lot of confidence from his performances, particularly with the pressure and expectation that comes with the international hype of the tournaments, and hopes he can implement his learnings for the Proteas in the next week.
‘I have played a lot this year, I have learnt a lot and have been in a lot of different situations,’ he said.
‘If something comes out on the field similar to a past situation I have experienced I can only hope that I’ve learnt from the past and can do better. T20 cricket is about honing your skills and being confident enough to execute those skills. The more cricket you play the better you become and the more confident you are in those situations.’
The conditions have been the talk in the build-up to the opening match on Friday, but leg-spinner, Eddie Leie, says the basics will remain the same regardless of what the late-winter conditions produce.
The role of the spinner doesn’t change,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter where you play around the world or in the country, the role of the spinner is to try and control the middle overs from overs seven to 13. It doesn’t matter how the conditions are, you have to find a way to control the game, be it by taking down the run rate or taking the odd wicket.’