Dwaine’s fo­cus on four-day game

ONLY ALL-ROUNDER WITH AV­ER­AGE OVER 40 Lions star is hop­ing to make Gib­son sit up and take no­tice.

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT - Ken Bor­land

Highveld Lions all-rounder Dwaine Pre­to­rius faces stiff com­pe­ti­tion from all the other all-rounders cur­rently in the Proteas pic­ture, but the 28-year-old says he is go­ing to chan­nel his fo­cus into the Sun­foil Se­ries and try to sep­a­rate him­self from the rest on the ba­sis of his bat­ting.

Chris Mor­ris, Wayne Par­nell, Andile Phehluk­wayo, Ver­non Philander and Pre­to­rius have all played for the Proteas across the three dif­fer­ent for­mats in the last year, but Pre­to­rius is the only one who has a first-class bat­ting av­er­age of more than 40 (42.46).

Last sea­son was his most pro­duc­tive with the bat as he av­er­aged 52.40 in the Sun­foil Se­ries and he is ea­ger to con­tinue that form when the four-day com­pe­ti­tion starts next week. The Lions open their cam­paign on Tues­day against the War­riors at the Wan­der­ers.

“I would love to play more cricket for the Proteas, es­pe­cially Test cricket, but I’m just go­ing to con­cen­trate on the Sun­foil Se­ries. I don’t know Ot­tis Gib­son at all or what sort of play­ers he likes, only time will tell. So I’ll just go back to my pro­cesses, if I get those right then I can per­form and from there I hope I get se­lected.

“I was quite pleased with last year’s four-day com­pe­ti­tion, I bat­ted at six or seven and I was un­der pres­sure, ba­si­cally com­ing in at 60/4 sev­eral times. But I re­ally liked the chance to bat longer.

“I think I’m more of a 50/50 all-rounder, maybe even more of a bat­ting all-rounder, than a bowl­ing all-rounder, so I want to put my­self in a dif­fer­ent bracket and repli­cate what I did in last sea­son’s Sun­foil Se­ries, but keep the same bowl­ing stan­dard. It’s un­be­liev­able to have four other qual­ity all-rounders around and I am close to all of them as mates. But I’m not com­pet­ing against them, I’m com­pet­ing against my­self,” Pre­to­rius said.

Pre­to­rius, whose ac­cu­racy and skil­ful use of the ball are his great­est bowl­ing at­tributes, be­lieves the Lions have the re­sources to lift them­selves from a fifth­place fin­ish last sea­son back into con­tenders for the ti­tle.

“Things are look­ing up and guys like Rassie van der Dussen, Reeza Hen­dricks and Stephen Cook know they are close to the na­tional side, so they don’t need any ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion. Beu­ran Hen­dricks, Om­phile Ramela and Craig Alexan­der have come over to us and will add a lot of value.

“This year there’s com­pe­ti­tion for bat­ting spots and the older guys know they have to per­form. We’ve lost Temba Bavuma, but it doesn’t feel as much of a shock as it would have been three years ago and Om­phile will add a lot of sta­bil­ity,” Pre­to­rius said.

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

DE­TER­MINED. Highveld Lions all-rounder Dwaine Pre­to­rius will spend time on his bat­ting in the longer for­mat of the game.

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