Batsman Stiaan van Zyl is determined to replicate – or better – the success of Cobras team-mate Dane Piedt, when South Africa’s three-Test against the West Indies starts in Centurion next week.
Stiaan van Zyl has been named in a relatively new-look squad, which also includes the uncapped Kagiso Rabada and Temba Bavuma. All-rounder Robin Peterson has been recalled – and leg-spinner Imran Tahir dropped. Dane Piedt, who took eight wickets on debut against Zimbabwe earlier this year, was not considered for selection due to injury.
Convener of selectors Andrew Hudson, meanwhile, has confirmed the 27-year-old van Zyl will replace the injured JP Duminy in the middle order. He, too, will play for the South African Invitation XI against the touring West Indians before the Test series opener at Centurion.
‘I have always believed in having patience and good things come to those who wait. I knew I had to keep knocking on the door and put myself in position to be first in line when an opportunity arose. The only way I could do that was to keep scoring runs, and big runs for the Cobras,’ IOL quoted van Zyl as saying.
‘I saw how Piedt came in and took his chance. Without putting too much pressure on myself, I can make a similar impact. The West Indies are a Test team with quality bowlers, so your concentration has to be spot on. The key is to shut out all the outside noise and concentrate on that red piece of leather coming to you from 22 yards.’
The left-handed van Zyl was part of the squad for the one-off Test against the Zimbabweans in August. He was not named in the XI for that fixture at the Harare Sports Club, but the experience gained proved valuable regardless.
‘It has helped that I have already toured with the guys to get a feel of the dressing room. I went with the Proteas in the winter and realised how close I actually am,’ he added.
The Cape Town-born Boland Landbou graduate has amassed 6086 runs, including 15 centuries and 28 half-tons, at an impressive average of 45.41 during a solid first-class career that started in October 2006.