Time for Mosehle to deliver
Lions keeper get his chance to shine as part of the Proteas’ T20 side to face touring Sri Lanka
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.