Proteas seamer Lutho Sipamla says helping the Proteas win the T20I series is his only priority and not World Cup selection.
The 20-year-old is quickly making a name for himself on the international scene.
After a brilliant stint for the Tswana Spartans in the Mzansi Super League – where he took 16 wickets in 10 matches, finishing third on the wicket charts during the tournament – the youngster was fast-tracked into the T20I setup, allowing Ottis Gibson a chance to assess the young bowler’s abilities.
His ability to throttle oppositions in the middle overs is particularly impressive, and this was shown in the super-over thriller at Newlands when he finished with figures of 1-19 in his four overs.
The youngster explained how he has dealt with the quick step up to international cricket.
‘What has possibly changed for me since I started playing for the national team is my thinking towards the game‚’ he said ahead of the Proteas second T20I at Centurion.
‘The other important thing is how I handle situations‚ how I play my game and how I prepare. Being in this environment has definitely helped me to work on those little things.’
As expected around any young recruit, the senior players have played their part in making Sipamla feel comfortable, and he explained how they have impacted his game.
He also explained what it was like to form part of a captivating super-over victory against Sri Lanka at Newlands.
‘The senior players were calm and collected – they knew what to do and they were ready for the challenge‚’ he said.
‘It was just so good to see how calm they were on the situation, and I think they handled it extremely well. We came out tops and it was very nice.
‘It was very exciting getting into a very good game played by both teams and I enjoyed being part of it.’
Sipamla also gave some insight into how he has handled the step up to international cricket and what his short-term and long-term aspirations are.
‘At the moment I am just trying to take each game as I get it. It is a big opportunity playing for the Proteas this season‚’ he said.
‘So‚ I am not thinking about the World Cup at all – whatever happens in the future will happen, but at the moment my mind is on these next two matches in this series.
‘For me‚ in every single game playing for the Proteas, energies are always high because it is a privilege and honour to play for your country.
‘It doesn’t need much to take the energies high or me motivated for the game. Just playing for the badge is motivation enough.’
The next challenge for the Proteas will be the second T20I at Centurion. Without the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Faf du Plessis and Imran Tahir, who have all been rested, the new-look Proteas limited overs side will have quite a tricky task on their hands.
‘We definitely are looking to play a good game on Friday and try to get a win. We know for that to happen we have to prepare well.
‘Everyone has their game plans‚ they know what to work on‚ coaches have spoken to players individually to discuss what we must work on.
‘On Thursday we had another good session where guys trained well and they know what to work on in the nets. Hopefully, we can carry that into the next game.’
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