SA Cricket magazine spoke exclusively to South African wicketkeeper-batsman Morne van Wyk, whose international career might be revived after a relatively surprising inclusion in the 30-man preliminary squad for the 2015 World Cup.
You have not played international cricket since the 2011 World Cup, but are in contention for a berth in the final squad for the 2015 ODI showpiece in Australasia …
I would give anything to be part of the South African team again. It looks like such a nice team to be playing with at this stage. Even if I don’t make the final squad, I think we have a very good chance of winning. In fact, I think we are going to win the World Cup. I’d be desperate to get the chance to wear the green an gold again.
If selected, you’re almost certainly not going to beat young Quinton de Kock to the first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman berth …
I realise, if I make the 15-man squad, it won’t be as a first XI player. But you have to have a good full squad for all that time during a World Cup. They will need good 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th members of the squad. I would do it with a great attitude. I learned a lot from the last time I was there, at a World Cup.
What does Morne van Wyk of 2014-15 have to offer that Morne van Wyk of 2011 didn’t?
That’s a great question. Four years is a lot of time. I’m more mature, which means I have been through more of life and have more character. I have a better idea of what is important. I have the experience of what it takes to contend at a World Cup. I’d just like to give my best. The crux of the matter would be to hook up with the values and the norms of the Proteas team.
That covers the esoteric, intangible elements of cricket. Talk us through the on-field facets, though.
My execution is very good, I’m quite consistent. In terms of leadership, the opportunities I have had to captain different players in different environments has been valuable. I can make better and clearer decisions. I’ve also grown in terms of my skills, when compared to four years ago. There have been certain markers that I can look back on, and I know will go down as steppingstones. But the most significant thing is that I have grown and matured as a person. I know how to handle pressure situations better.
Is 2013’s move from the Knights to the Dolphins going according to plan?
So far, my time at the Dolphins has been a great learning experience. I’ve developed new skills, growing as a person and a cricketer. This is my new cricket chapter with the Dolphins. I am happy for the Knights, though. I am glad to have left a team in a better state than I found it. It wasn’t nice to see the way they were struggling. The Knights have a good gameplan, loading themselves with many batsmen. Their role definition is very good. The team has bought into the gameplan. They have a team which is hungry.
The Dolphins won the Ram Slam T20 Challenge in February this year, but endured a disappointing title defence nine months later. What changed?
For the most part, we were close, but not quite close enough. Honestly speaking, we obviously dropped far too many catches and the batting was not great during the Powerplays. We need to do better during the Powerplays. Often we started well, with the first half of the innings going well, but the second half doing badly. Our death bowling wasn’t good enough. So, all in all, there were plenty of areas we needed to better in. We did a lot of things really well. But in the end we made too many mistakes. We would like to have executed some of our plans in a better fashion.
Did October’s very unsuccessful Champions League T20 campaign in India have an adverse effect on the Dolphins’ preparation for the Ram Slam T20 Challenge?
In the Champions League, you learn a lot about playing in India and playing against international opposition. But we didn’t need to go there and do well to play better in South Africa, against opponents we know quite well. That learning was for those conditions. We were under-equipped, though. Looking at the personnel that we had, that we still have, there are some things we didn’t do right. We have some stuff to work on.
West Indian all-rounder and Dolphins recruit Dwayne Bravo was arguably the least successful of the overseas professionals contracted for the latest edition of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge. Do you agree?
Dwayne will be the first guy to say he could have – and should have – contributed more. But it was good to have him in the change room. It was good for all of us to hear what he had to say about the game. We heard his opinions and saw what he puts in place to play the game – how he plays, how it should be played. We learned a lot about how teams from overseas play certain formats – what they do to succeed.
Is captaining your younger brother, Divan van Wyk, at List A and first-class level a welcome challenge?
Being the skipper with Divan around has been very nice – enjoyable and a real privilege. Hopefully we will be playing together a lot from here on in. He is coming along nicely as a cricketer. He has the talent to succeed more. I’m happy to be around, with him in the same team. The more he plays, the better he will get. I’m excited for his future prospects.
By Jonhenry Wilson