Cape Cobras wicketkeeper Dane Vilas believes his performance with the gloves will prove vital to keeping his place in the Proteas side, as he prepares for the four-Test series against India.
There will be pressure on the 30-year-old to perform in the subcontinent, as Quinton de Kock will be sure to breathe down his neck as the England series approaches, but Vilas is going to take it game-by-game, with a lot of focus on his glovework.
‘People are saying that I need to score loads of runs,’ Vilas tells SA Cricket magazine. ‘My first aim though is to contribute wherever I can, especially with the gloves, and in India in those conditions standing up is always a challenge, but I’ve had a bit of experience with the A side and performed quite well with them.’
It was a frustrating time for the Johannesburg-born player when he made his Test debut in Bangladesh in July. Heavy rain prevented him from having a bat, but he went to India with the SA A squad a week later, and performed admirably, hitting a 74-ball 75 in the first unofficial Test against India A.
‘That Bangladesh game … the opportunity was amazing but the game itself was disappointing. To get another chance though is a dream come true. I feel in good touch. I’m seeing the ball well and I had a good four-day game in India.’
He’s hoping to build up some form and match practice in the three matches that he will play in the Momentum One Day Cup before flying out. Their first match gets underway against the Lions on Saturday.
At 30, Vilas might feel that it is now or never to build up his international career, but for the time being, while there is pressure on him to succeed, he is excited to have the opportunity.
‘As a new guy there’s always going to be some pressure, even in the changing room, adding some value where you can. That’s what everyone plays for, you want to get that opportunity to play for the Proteas after playing a lot of domestic cricket. Hopefully I will take my chance.’