Janneman Malan is relishing the opportunity to be part of the Proteas ODI squad again and is hoping to stamp his authority in the 50-over format, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Despite missing out on an opportunity to get some game-time in the recent ODI series against England, where he was part of the 15-man squad, the chances are good that Malan will feature in the upcoming series against Australia, which gets underway on Saturday.
With Reeza Hendricks missing out on selection, Malan and Jon-Jon Smuts are the only two specialised opening batsmen in the squad alongside Quinton de Kock, while Temba Bavuma looks set to continue at No3.
Smuts, though, batted down the order in the series draw with England, which could suggest that coach Mark Boucher is keen to give Malan a crack at the top.
And, it is a prospect that the 23-year-old Cape Cobras player is extremely excited about.
‘I’m looking forward to be part of the Proteas squad environment once again. I really enjoy the intensity and focus of the whole process that is being implemented at this level. I’m also looking forward to further develop and grow my game as a cricketer,’ said Malan, speaking to SA Cricket Mag on Thursday.
The right-hander has only featured for South Africa in two T20Is against Pakistan last year but boasts a strong List A record with an average of 43.13 in 48 matches.
He has also been making the headlines for his form in First Class cricket in recent seasons and hopes his bat can do the talking against a very disciplined Australian bowling attack.
‘I’m aiming to contribute by putting the team in strong positions with the bat. I also hope to bring some great energy to the field to help build the pressure while we are bowling.’
The Proteas will be hoping to put Wednesday’s heavy T20 defeat at the hands of the Aussies behind them as soon as possible to start the three-match series in Paarl on a high.
The South Africans are still searching for the first series win of the summer and will be hoping to close their home season out with a valuable victory over Aaron Finch’s side.
Malan admits that the Australians have a looked very good since arriving in South Africa but believes the Proteas have enough quality to beat them, despite certain players being rested for the series.
‘They obviously have a lot of experience players in their team and their bowlers have shown what they’re capable of. We will have to be wary of that as a batting unit but I feel we do have enough talent to match their efforts with the bat,’ said Malan.
Saturday’s play gets underway at 13:00 at Boland Park before the two teams square off in Bloemfontein on Wednesday and the series concludes in Potchefstroom next week Friday.
Proteas ODI squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma (Lions), David Miller (Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Beuran Hendricks (Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Janneman Malan (Cape Cobras), Jon-Jon Smuts (Warriors), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Lutho Sipamla (Warriors), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Kyle Verreynne (Cape Cobras).