Lions batsman Ryan Rickelton says not being included in the Proteas squad for the tour to Australia made him determined to prove the selectors wrong.
Rickelton is one of the form batsmen of the One-Day Cup and produced another match-winning innings over the weekend, 99 off 96 balls against the Boland Rocks.
The 26-year-old fell agonisingly short of what would have been a fourth century in his last six innings across the 4-Day Series and One-Day Cup.
When the 16-man Proteas squad to tour Australia was announced last month, CSA said an ankle injury had ruled Rickelton out of contention but that he was still able to play domestic cricket for the Lions.
“The fact that I am not in Australia is really motivating me to score as many runs as I can,” Rickelton told IOL on Monday.
“I’m obviously desperate to get back in the Test team again and pushing hard for an ODI spot, which would be great. The fire is burning inside me, I want to play at a higher level.”
“Our physio was probably the most disappointed out of all of us, to be honest, because he and I sat down, structured a full plan for how we would get this right, how we would be fit for Australia, the SA 20 and the rest of the summer,” he added.
Rickelton has been battling a ligament injury that he has been carrying for years but was only picked up in the Proteas’ Test series against England in August and September.
“The surgeon reckons it’s been there for two or three years and I’ve just taken it over the edge now, along with the bone spur,” Rickelton explained.
“There is no hiding it, I do need an operation. But, the plan was in place – with platelet injections [using the patient’s blood cells to treat an affected area] and proper management for me – to get through the summer, because the surgeon said I’d be fit to play the next six to 12 months. We are still sticking to that.
“I was disappointed with how it all unfolded. I had a week or two to sulk about it, but that’s not going to get me anywhere, I’ve got to make sure I’m putting my hand up.
“As a player, no one’s out there to make anyone look foolish but if you find yourself in a situation where you can really stamp your authority as a person and player on whoever it may be, a lot of players use that as motivation.
“There’s a lot of players around who probably have a very similar taste in their mouth. It’s an opportunity to showcase yourself, to push your own case, it’s something every player has to do because no one is going to push it for you.”