Proteas batsman Pite van Biljon turned 34 years old on Wednesday, 15 April 2020. He welcomed an international debut earlier this year, but whether he ever plays for the Proteas again remains in the balance.
Should Van Biljon have played for the Proteas at all?
- The hard-hitting right-hander deserved a first crack at the big stage after firing for the Jozi Stars during their 2018 title-winning Mzansi Super League campaign. He then moved to the Tshwane Spartans, who also reached an MSL final in 2019. They didn’t win that, though. Van Biljon averages over 30 and strikes at more than 130 in professional T20 cricket. This has included several important cameos for the Knights. His selection for the Proteas’ T20I series against Australia was warranted, but didn’t yield more than 17, seven not out and one. Sixth in the batting order is arguably too low for Van Biljon.
Will Van Biljon be named in the Proteas T20 World Cup squad?
- He probably won’t be named in South Africa’s squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. Unlike, say, Rassie van der Dussen, he didn’t succeed during his opening forays into international cricket. There isn’t much to his game to suggest he is an outright match-winner. He doesn’t bowl. The Proteas would arguably be better off selecting an additional all-rounder or young, exciting specialist batsman for the trip to Australia. There are decent options who have only recently been capped at international level or were impressive in domestic cricket.
Where to next for Van Biljon?
- The stalwart Free Stater will captain the Knights during the 2020-21 domestic season. He is right in saying the franchise was on an ‘upward curve’ when the 2019-20 season was suspended prematurely as a preventative measure against the coronavirus pandemic. He will be equipped with a talented squad, which has lost seamer Ottniel Baartman and batsman Keegan Petersen to the Dolphins, but gained former Cape Cobras duo Matthew Kleinveldt and Ferisco Adams and ex-Titans pair Alfred Mothoa and Jonathan Vandiar. Fast bowler Migael Pretorius has joined from the Lions, too.
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