Proteas and Cape Town Blitz all-rounder George Linde has set his sights on the 2020 T20 World Cup squad.
You played one Test in India and seemed settled, with the bat in particular.
I was pretty pleased with my performances and while it would have been nice to bat for a bit longer, I just backed myself. The most important thing was to know I have it in me to do this. I had been training for this opportunity for the past six or seven years, so when it came along I wanted to give it my all. If it was going to go well, then great. If it didn’t go well, it was OK, as long as I did my best. Conditions in India are so different to other parts of the world. Wickets are slower and lower; others have more skid. No two are the same. You never know what you are going to get. In South Africa, you pretty much know what you are going to get from city to city. Obviously one would want to come into a winning team, but debuting for the team that had been losing was still a proud moment for me and my family. It was a weird feeling – a proud moment, yes, but disappointing in that situation too.
Were you impressed by the analysis available at international level?
At franchise level, we don’t really have analysts. For the Proteas, there is much more and you can pretty much get any sort of analysis you want. That sort of thing plays a big role for me, especially with my bowling, to understand how I should be going about things to different batsmen. It’s all helpful.
You were in the running for a T20I debut before playing your first Test.
I’m not sure what the selectors’ plans are, but I do see myself as able to play a massive role for the Proteas in limited-overs cricket. I don’t look too far ahead, but the T20 World Cup is not far off, so I am thinking about that. I want to play in a World Cup, so that is definitely a goal of mine. I’m not a big goal-setter, but that’s one of them. If I can get that right, I’ll be pleased. I feel I have the ability to play all three codes well at international level. Moeen Ali [of England and Cape Town Blitz] is a good example. He bats, bowls and fields well. He balances the team nicely because an extra batsman or bowler can be picked when he is around. If I keep playing that sort of role, I’d like to think I’ll be noticed more and more.
What’s your opinion of Ashwell Prince as a franchise and potential international coach?
Ashwell has helped me lift my game from about 60% to as much as 80% or 90%. He makes you work and ensures you are never satisfied with where you are as a player. He pressurises you, in a good way, to perform with the bat and the ball. When he joined the Cobras, he told me I could play for the Proteas one day because I can bat and bowl. He instilled confidence in me. He’s a really good coach and I love working with him. He’s done a lot for me as a player and others too. Paul Adams was also quite influential for me. He gave me the first opportunity to play franchise cricket. He was also a big influence for me with my spin bowling, obviously.
You’ve floated up and down the Cobras batting order in T20 cricket. Do you enjoy this role?
I love coming to the crease earlier, as then I can just play. If you come in down the order, you only have a certain number of balls you can face. I love it when I get an opportunity to bat earlier and am keen to take advantage. I can play according to what is required.
Is it important for franchise and international cricketers to play the occasional club match?
I played three or four years of club cricket before making it to a higher level. You must know where you come from and you must remember your roots. Giving back is also important. When there is time and permission to play club cricket, we do.
How are you navigating a career influenced by the lure of Kolpak and other contracts?
It differs from person to person, but there is probably no chance I would think of signing something like that. Representing my country has always been something I’ve wanted to do. Now that I’ve had the chance to do so, I want to play as much as possible. In the next four years there will be the opportunity to play in the
World Cup in India. I would love to play county cricket as an overseas player. But as a Kolpak cricketer, that probably won’t happen.
MEMBERS OF THE CLUB
At amateur level, Linde is associated with Brackenfell Cricket Club, where he joined before the start of the season. He used to play at Durbanville Cricket Club, who occasionally enjoy the services of Proteas T20I batsman Jannemaan Malan and brother Pieter Malan. Linde and Malan are not alone in their contribution to club cricket despite having graduated to franchise and international level. Test batsman Zubayr Hamza still turns out for the University of the Western Cape Cricket Club when time allows. Vernon Philander, meanwhile, has a long-standing association with Tygerberg Cricket Club.