The­u­nis tipped for great­ness

DE BRUYN: PROTEAS’ ROOKIE TIPPED FOR GREAT­NESS

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Ken Bor­land

Bats­man could play against Sri Lanka if Faf du Plessis fails in his bid to es­cape ban for ball-tam­per­ing.

The con­tin­ued mis­for­tune of Rilee Ros­souw has turned out to be the joy of The­u­nis de Bruyn, with the Knights cap­tain called up to the South African Test squad for the first time yes­ter­day ahead of the three-Test se­ries against Sri Lanka which starts on Box­ing Day.

Ros­souw, who toured Aus­tralia with­out play­ing in any of the Tests, has been ruled out of ac­tion by an­other foot in­jury and his place in the squad has been taken by uncapped Knights team-mate De Bruyn.

The tall 24-year-old has been con­sid­ered an ob­vi­ous fu­ture in­ter­na­tional for the last three sea­sons, boast­ing an im­pres­sive first­class av­er­age of 48.73 with six cen­turies in 32 matches in­clud­ing a dou­ble for SA A against the Eng­land Lions. Con­venor of selec­tors Linda Zondi told The Citizen that De Bruyn is con­sid­ered a fu­ture star of all three for­mats.

“The­u­nis a good tal­ent and has done well for both his fran­chise and SA A. Ob­vi­ously we aren’t pleased with Rilee’s in­jury be­cause he’s the next bats­man in line, and Sti­aan van Zyl would prob­a­bly also have been in line had he not signed a Kol­pak deal, but The­u­nis is next in the peck­ing or­der. It’s good to get him into the set-up be­cause we def­i­nitely see him as a fu­ture star,” Zondi said.

“It’s ob­vi­ously very dis­ap­point­ing for Rilee, I spoke to him in Aus­tralia and he re­ally wants to do well for South Africa and was very happy with the way we backed him in the ODIs. He’s ob­vi­ously an ex­cep­tional player and he will still do well in the fu­ture for South Africa and con­trib­ute im­mensely go­ing for­ward be­cause it’s still a long sea­son ahead and he’s def­i­nitely still in our plans.”

Be­cause the Proteas are now back on home soil, the squad has been re­duced to 13 play­ers, with Wayne Par­nell the fast bowler called in to re­place the in­jured Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn. Wrist-spin­ner Tabraiz Shamsi, all-rounder Dwaine Pre­to­rius and re­serve wick­et­keeper Dane Vi­las are no longer part of the squad.

The like­li­hood of De Bruyn mak­ing his de­but will de­pend on whether cap­tain Faf du Plessis es­capes a ban from his ap­peal for ball-tam­per­ing on Mon­day, but just be­ing in camp will be of im­mense ben­e­fit to the de­vel­op­ment of the ele­gant right-han­der.

“Even if he doesn’t make the start­ing XI, he’s go­ing to gain more ex­pe­ri­ence and fit­ting into those sur­round­ings and the cul­ture of the team will only en­hance his be­lief that he will be able to fit in at in­ter­na­tional level,” Zondi said.

Pic­ture: Gallo Im­ages

IN LINE. The­u­nis de Bruyn could make his Test de­but against Sri Lanka later this month af­ter be­ing in­cluded in the Proteas’ squad for the up­com­ing Test se­ries.

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