Smuts makes Proteas T20 side
Old Graemian Jon-Jon Smuts has finally been given a chance to play for the Proteas. Smuts is one of six new caps in the 13-man squad announced by Cricket South Africa (CSA) earlier this week.
Speaking to Grocott’s Mail this week, Smuts said the 9.45pm call last week came as “quite a shock”. A call coming from CSA selection convener Linda Zondi to inform Smuts he was part of the 13-man squad for the first two T20 cricket games against Sri Lanka. Smuts said it was only this week, when he saw the press release, that it really sunk in.
Smuts captained the Warriors to second place in the recent CSA T20 Challenge, where he finished as the top scorer in the competition.
He said he had fond memories of playing cricket for the Graeme first team, for which he set a number of records, many of which are still standing
Smuts said he owed much of his cricket career to his parents, especially his father who would bowl to him during his school days.
“I owe my parents a lot for the sacrifices they made,” said Smuts.
Smuts also acknowledged his former school coach, Ian Suttie who is still a teacher at Graeme, with over 30 years’ service to cricket. He was especially grateful to Suttie “for allowing me to play for the first team”.
Farhaan Behardien has been appointed as stand-in captain of the Standard Bank Proteas for the first two matches in the KFC T20 International Series against Sri Lanka.
Former Graemian and former Border Bears provincial player, Wayne Wiblin called Smuts a very talented cricketer and added that it came from many hours of practice.
“If you’re willing to put in the hours, it will eventually pay off,” Wiblin said. Wiblin said he would often see the Smuts family practice together, “be it tennis or cricket”.
“I’ve never seen a family practice more than the Smuts family”, said Wiblin, speaking of Jon-Jon, his brother Kelly (who is part of the EP Cricket side) and his parents Neil and Diane, who live in Grahamstown.
Wiblin said it was great that Smuts had been recognised, especially as the top run scorer in the recent T20 competition.
The other new caps are Theunis de Bruyn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson and Lungi Ngidi.
“We have decided to rest some of our key senior players for this series,” said Zondi. “This is the last chance we have to do this as the Momentum ODI series that follows is an important part of our buildup to the ICC Champions Trophy Tournament in England in the middle of the year.
“Those senior players who are involved in the Indian Premier League will be playing non-stop from now until the end of August with the tours coming up to New Zealand and England in addition to the ICC event.
“Farhaan was one of the standout players in our franchise T20 Challenge, being the second leading run scorer behind Jon-Jon Smuts and having the best strike rate,” said Zondi.
KFC T20 International Schedule: Friday, 20 January 2017: 1st KFC International, SuperSport Park, 6pm Sunday, 22 January 2017: 2nd KFC International, Bidvest Wanderers, 2.30pm Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 3rd KFC International, PPC Newlands, 6pm. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon-Jon Smuts in action for the Warriors during the recent CSA T20 Challenge.
Jon-Jon Smuts has been called up for the first two T20 cricket games against Sri Lanka.