Knock, knock ... it’s Dwaine Pre­to­rius

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ZAAHIER ADAMS

IT was roughly 12 months ago that Dwaine Pre­to­rius was still play­ing for his provin­cial out­fit North West.

Now, he finds him­self in the Proteas dress­ing- room cel­e­brat­ing an ODI se­ries win and the op­por­tu­nity to com­plete a 5- 0 white­wash over world cham­pi­ons Aus­tralia.

It has cer­tainly been a me­te­oric rise for the 27-yearold from Rand­fontein, who earned his first pro­fes­sional con­tract at the Highveld Lions in 2014.

In the two ODIs he has played, Pre­to­rius has yet to set the world alight – his de­but was against Ire­land last month – but he’s shown enough with bat and ball to sug­gest that he has a fu­ture at the high­est level.

“It has been an awe­some few months for me,” Pre­to­rius said at St Ge­orge’s Park yes­ter­day. “It ob­vi­ously started with the SA A tour to Aus­tralia, then the Ire­land game, and now the Aus­tralian se­ries. It has been a re­ally awe­some time, and to be part of a team that is three-nil up against the best team in the world, the world cham­pi­ons, it doesn’t get bet­ter than that.”

The Proteas could ring the changes for to­mor­row’s clash and also next week in Cape Town with the na­tional se­lec­tors look­ing to cre­ate greater depth within the ODI squad ahead of the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in Eng­land next year.

With Wayne Par­nell ruled out with a cracked rib and Chris Mor­ris still side­lined, it is likely that Pre­to­rius will be granted more op­por­tu­ni­ties to stake a claim for a per­ma­nent place.

He knows that the time is ripe to set his stall and will be eager to help South Africa clinch what would be a his­toric 5-0 thrash­ing of the Aussies.

“I hope I crack the nod for Sun­day’s game. I am look­ing to per­form con­sis­tently, and I am go­ing to work hard if an op­por­tu­nity does come my way. I just want to keep knock­ing on the door for the next se­ries. I am go­ing to work hard to be ready for Sun­day,” he said.

But what about the sug­ges­tion that the Proteas could take their foot off the pedal with the se­ries al­ready won?

“Ev­ery­one is hun­gry to play for South Africa. We gave our­selves a few days off to en­joy the vic­tory the other night, but we re­ally want to win the se­ries five-zip,” Pre­to­rius added.

“There are not a lot of teams that can say that. That’s our main fo­cus and we’re not tak­ing any­thing for granted.”

The se­lec­tors have yet to make a call on Kingsmead hero David Miller with his groin in­jury to be as­sessed to­day when he ar­rives with the ma­jor­ity of the Proteas squad.

Only six play­ers trained yes­ter­day, which al­lowed coach Rus­sell Domingo the op­por­tu­nity to have a rare throw-down ses­sion with his son.

The smart money is on Tabraiz Shamsi be­ing granted a crack at the Aussies with the chi­na­man bowler seen mark­ing out his run-up at the Duck Pond End yes­ter­day along­side spin- bowl­ing coach Claude Hen­der­son.

Aaron Phangiso was not at training but could make his way into the start­ing lineup as the Proteas look to change their tac­tics to a spin-dom­i­nated at­tack to suit con­di­tions at St Ge­orge’s Park.

This could mean a much­needed rest for spear­head Kag­iso Rabada ahead of what is ex­pected to be gru­elling sea­son across all for­mats.

The at­tack will not lose any in­tent with Aus­tralia’s re­cent strug­gles against spin, and Shamsi of­fers the mys­tique of be­ing some­what of a “mys­tery bowler”.

Aus­tralian Travis Head, though, doesn’t be­lieve they are not ca­pa­ble of fac­ing qual­ity spin, and the fact that they have al­ready faced Shamsi dur­ing the Tri-Na­tion Se­ries ear­lier this year will be key to them win­ning their first game of the se­ries.

“We have seen Shamsi. We’ve seen him be­fore in the Caribbean. We are pretty con­fi­dent. I think we’ve played Immy quite well too,” Head said. “We’re al­ways look­ing to win. It hasn’t worked out thus far in the se­ries, but we will try to stay pos­i­tive and hope­fully the re­sult goes our way.” LIKELY PROTEAS Hashim Amla, Quin­ton de Kock, Faf du Plessis (capt), Rilee Ros­souw, JP Du­miny, David Miller/Farhaan Be­har­dien, Dwaine Pre­to­rius, Andile Phehluk­wayo, Dale Steyn, Aaron Phangiso, Tabraiz Shamsi. Start: 10am. TV: SS2, SABC3. Ra­dio: Ra­dio2000.

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