• Vilas ready to step up

    Dane Vilas says getting called up to replace AB de Villiers in the Proteas Test squad for their tour to Bangladesh came as a big surprise.

    Dane Vilas has answered an SOS-call from the national selectors to replace De Villiers, who is on paternity leave, in the Test squad and will act as reserve keeper for Quinton de Kock.

    ‘I was quite shocked and very surprised when Andrew Hudson [outgoing convener of the national selectors] called me on Monday,’ said Vilas.

    The 29-year-old wicketkeeper of the Cape Cobras scored 499 runs in the Sunfoil Series in the 2014/2015-season and averaged 55.5 in the Momentum One Day Cup competition.

    ‘Obviously, if I wereto be selected for South Africa in a case of injury, it would be the fulfilment of a dream for me.

    ‘It would be the pinnacle of my career if I am drafted into the SA team for a Test against Bangladesh. But I will prepare as if I am going to play,’ Vilas said.

    Vilas is an attacking middle-order batsman who can be destructive when he gets into his stride, and was a stand-out performer for the Cobras the past few years.

    Last season, he was arguably their best middle-order batsman in the One-Day Cup.

    His first-class average of 41, with 10 centuries, underlines his ability with the bat.

    ‘I am quite pleased with my development as wicket-keeper in the past few seasons. I have worked hard on drills and on watching footage on YouTube to improve,’ Vilas said.

    ‘I have also touched base often with Ryan Cook and Wendell Bossenger to evolve as a wicketkeeper. A few seasons ago when Mark Boucher was at the Cape Cobras, I also discussed my wicket-keeping skills and ways to improve at length with him.’

    Vilas says he feels younger than his 29 years and hopes to continue for a number of years. Players like Justin Kemp, who is 37, and Neil McKenzie, who was 39 when he retired from first-class cricket, have shown that age is just a number in the first-class arena.