Time for Mosehle to de­liver

Li­ons keeper get his chance to shine as part of the Proteas’ T20 side to face tour­ing Sri Lanka

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - STU­ART HESS – – – –

HAS Mangaliso Mosehle fi­nally found the way to marry po­ten­tial and self-be­lief to make progress in his ca­reer? The 26-yearold hopes so.

He’ll be hook­ing up with a new look Proteas T20 squad to­day to start prepa­ra­tions for the three-match se­ries against Sri Lanka, start­ing at Mosehle’s former home ground, Su­per­Sport Park on Fri­day evening.

It was there just over a year ago that he pro­duced ar­guably the high­light of his ca­reer, a thun­der­ous 87 off 39 balls to help the Ti­tans win what was then known as the RamSlam against the Dol­phins. That per­for­mance, along with a rea­son­ably steady show­ing in this sea­son’s T20 Chal­lenge was at the back of the se­lec­tors’ minds when they chose a wicket-keeper for the se­ries.

Mosehle is now at the Highveld Li­ons, where he’s taken on more re­spon­si­bil­ity as a se­nior player, per­formed in the short­est for­mat this sea­son, but un­til last week­end when he made a cen­tury, the first of his ca­reer, his four day form had been patchy.

It was a timely knock, com­ing in the same week that he joins the Proteas. “I’ve felt I’ve strug­gled a bit in the four-day stuff, I don’t think it’s a con­fi­dence thing, but it was nice to have a good in­nings like that. I felt I struck the ball nicely,” Mosehle said of his hun­dred, scored in Benoni at the week­end against his former fran­chise in the Sun­foil Se­ries.

He scored those runs, 100 off 123 balls at a rea­son­able clip too a strike rate of 81.30 hit­ting 10 fours and three sixes in the process. “It’s how I play, so I was glad. Ge­off (Toy­ana, the Li­ons coach) has been en­cour­ag­ing me to play the way which comes nat­u­rally to me. I un­der­stand it was a flat pitch, but it was nice to get a score.”

No-one’s ever doubted Mosehle’s tal­ent. He is one of the best play­ers to watch in the nets, but tem­per­a­ment and tal­ent have not al­ways com­bined well in the heat of battle. It was hoped that fol­low­ing last sea­son’s match-winning per­for­mance in the T20 fi­nal that he’d kick on to big­ger things. The then Ti­tans coach Rob Wal­ter had been in Mosehle’s ear about be­liev­ing in him­self more and the move to the Li­ons was Mosehle’s at­tempt to help re­alise his po­ten­tial by tak­ing on greater re­spon­si­bil­ity at the Wan­der­ers-based fran­chise as a se­nior player. It’s not quite worked out as he’d liked. He still av­er­ages only 28.81 and Sun­day’s cen­tury was only the sec­ond time he’d passed 50 in the Sun­foil Se­ries this sea­son.

Still he goes into train­ing for the Proteas with his con­fi­dence up. “I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it,” he said yes­ter­day.

The South African T20 side will be cap­tained by Farhaan Be­har­dien and is mostly de­void of high pro­file names for the first two matches at least as the na­tional se­lec­tors seek to rest play­ers af­ter the Test se­ries against the Sri Lankans, and plan for the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy tour­na­ment later in the year.

Mosehle does not feel the ab­sence of Kag­iso Rabada, Faf du Plessis and Quin­ton de Kock cheap­ens the im­por­tance of the se­ries for those in­volved. “Look, Test cricket is the ul­ti­mate, it’s where we all want to play but this is a chance to rep­re­sent the coun­try, it’s one all the guys will be ex­cited about, it doesn’t mat­ter any less for us, we all want to wear that badge.”

Na­tional coach Rus­sell Domingo is aware he’ll have an en­er­getic bunch on his hands when the play­ers gather for train­ing to­day. “I’m re­ally ex­cited about the group of play­ers I’ll be work­ing with, I’m not go­ing to be see­ing Faf, JP, Hashim, AB, KG… there are go­ing to be 13 com­pletely new play­ers, they will be so hun­gry, so des­per­ate, to make an im­pres­sion for South African cricket and that’s ex­cit­ing for us,” said Domingo, who, thanks to the Test fin­ish­ing early, had a two-day break with his fam­ily.

“I’ve told the coaches ‘we’ve got to have our ‘A’ games here’ be­cause it’s like the first day of school for a lot of these guys. They are so des­per­ate to play for their coun­try and it’s ex­cit­ing for me to get to work with those types of new play­ers.”

Mosehle agreed. “All those guys have per­formed well in the do­mes­tic T20 com­pe­ti­tion in the last two years, it’s def­i­nitely an ex­cit­ing time.” HIT­TING THE BIG TIME: Mangaliso Mosehle will get his first taste of in­ter­na­tional cricket on Fri­day at Su­per­Sport Park when he takes the wick­et­keeper gloves for South Africa against Sri Lanka in the T20 se­ries.

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