Cobras coach Ashwell Prince says he rates Kyle Verreynne as one of the top batsmen in South African cricket, hailing the youngster’s ‘mentality’ as one of his biggest strengths.
Speaking to Netwerk24, Prince confirmed Verreynne’s class and insisted that the 24-year-old, who made his ODI debut last February, is one for the present not just the future.
He insisted he was not overstating the case when he rated Verreynne among South Africa’s best.
‘I don’t just mean young batsmen, I mean all batsmen, including those that played in the recent Test series against Pakistan.’
It is Prince’s belief that Verreynne has it in him to make the Proteas Test side as a specialist batsman, even though he plays most of his cricket as a wicketkeeper for his Cape side. Verreynne has at times batted as high as No 5 for the Cobras, but Prince insists this has been to manage his workload.
Should Verreynne play for the Proteas, it is unlikely that he would displace Quinton de Kock behind the stumps and so would need to be selected purely on his batting abilities. The man who averages 56 at first-class level may well get that chance as he has been named in the Proteas touring party set to contest a two-Test series against the West Indies.
Verreynne and Keegan Petersen are seen as two exciting young prospects, who are best poised to fill the gap left by the retirement of former captain Faf du Plessis from Test cricket.
‘He’ll make runs wherever he’s chosen to play for the Proteas because his biggest strength is his mentality and his can-do attitude, regardless of the situation.
‘I think that his best position at the moment would be at four or five [in the batting lineup] as this is what he is most used to at this stage of his career.’
Verreynne has been in superb form over the past season for the Cobras, with two standout performances against the Knights (216*) and the Warriors (109) that stick in the memory. Prince believes that his innings against the Warriors, especially, will teach the young man a lot about himself.
’Something that he learnt when he made all those runs is that not everything has to be perfect technically in order to score big runs. The morning of the double hundred he was very irritated in the nets with his timing and shot placement.
‘When he walked out of the net I said to him, “Wouldn’t it be a good day today to score big runs!”. He didn’t fully understand, but the point is that as batsmen we always want to feel as though everything is perfect and the reality is that that’s rarely the case.
‘His biggest strength is his mind and his character. What he offers from a technical perspective is that he keeps things simple and uncomplicated.’