Theunis de Bruyn says he learned a lot about himself after being dropped from the Proteas Test team in 2019.
It came after he had scored just 82 runs in five innings during South Africa’s 3-0 Test series defeat in India.
The 30-year-old was recalled to the squad for the upcoming three-Test series against Australia after Keegan Petersen and Ryan Rickelton were ruled out through injury.
In three 4-Day Series matches for the Titans this season, De Bruyn has scored 139 runs, at an average of 46.33, including 101 against the Lions at the Wanderers.
“It was tough [to be dropped in 2019] for various reasons; you want to do much better when you get the opportunity to play for your country and I did not,” De Bruyn told the Sunday Times.
“You almost go into the wilderness. The last few years have been interesting times but I learned a lot about myself. Back then communication was scarce and it was not explained to me why I was dropped.
“I am not sure if I am going to play in Australia but if I get an opportunity to play I am going to enjoy it.”
“If I gave up and didn’t believe that I can play for SA again, I probably would have stopped. The fact that I am still playing tells you that I didn’t give up. You learn more about yourself during times of challenge.
“I would not want it any other way, it has moulded me into the cricketer that I have become and I am proud of it. The game has its own pressures, so I know myself better and the way I want to approach it is different.
“That will probably make me feel less pressure. I want to do well, but you can’t control what the outcome is going to be. You can only give it your best shot and see what happens.
“I can’t control team selection, I can’t control all those things. Hopefully when we get to Australia there will be more clarity on roles so individual players are able to prepare.”
In his 12 Test appearances between 2017 and 2019, De Bruyn scored 428 runs at an average of 19.45. His highest score of 101 came against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2018.
“If you look at my record, there is nothing impressive but if you put it into context that the 12 matches that I played, I played in every position, from one to nine and I have not played consecutive matches,” he said.
“It has been a rollercoaster ride that took its toll on me mentally and I doubted myself, but lessons were learnt from that. I want to create my own identity and Australia is a place where hundreds can be scored.
“I would like to bat at four [for the Proteas],” De Bruyn confirmed. “I have been batting at four for the Titans this season and I am enjoying it.”