Monday, 8 June 2020

Proteas batsman Reeza Hendricks concedes that last season was a frustrating one for him due to his lack of game time for South Africa, but he hopes the future will bring a brighter outlook with the national team.

The right-hander played just three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s for his country, crossing 30 only once as he failed to build on the good form he had displayed on the domestic front.

Hendricks played all the games of the drawn ODI series against England in February, taking his tally in the format to 21 matches, whilst he has also featured in 23 T20s for his country spread over five-and-a-half years.

“It was a season of many up and downs,” the 30-year-old lamented. “There was also a lot of disappointment along the way.

“I thought I did really well on the domestic scene where I contributed in all formats, but then I was very disappointed in the international and Proteas set-up. I only got a handful of opportunities. I was around and I didn’t play too much, I got left out and asked myself why.

“So those are the questions I asked and have had to deal with this past season, so it has been a rollercoaster of a season.”

You always want to do well no matter who you play against. Hopefully I can contribute as well as I can and achieve my goals for whichever team I play for.

Hendricks, who averages in the mid-30s on the local scene, has for a long time been seen as one of the most talented limited-overs openers in South African cricket.

But he himself says that first-class cricket is what he prefers.

“I think red-ball cricket (is my strongest) and I’ve been working really hard on that format over the past few years,” he says. “I am yet to play Test cricket, but I feel I have done really well for the (Imperial) Lions in first-class cricket over the last few years.

“I think I have made good progress. But cricket is a funny game, one moment you think you on top a format and the next moment you’re not.”

After unluckily missing out on a place at the ICC World Cup in England last year, Hendricks will be amongst those Proteas that are hopeful of playing for South Africa at the next global event, the ICC World Twenty20 scheduled to take place in Australia later in the year, although COVID-19 may force a postponement.

The attacking batsman says he has set himself goals for the season ahead and hopes to achieve them in the coming months.

He continued: “I think there’s always going to be pressure, pressure that comes from within. As a player you will always look at the schedule and look forward to the season, try and set yourself some goals.

“You always want to do well no matter who you play against. Hopefully I can contribute as well as I can and achieve my goals for whichever team I play for.”

Hendricks adds that his greatest career ambition would be to “fulfil my talent to the best of my ability and to consistently play at the highest level in all three formats”.

He will be hoping for a return to regular training in the coming days as lockdown restrictions are eased in sport.

“It has been very difficult for us, those of us who are use to being outdoors and playing,” Hendricks concluded. “So I’ll be definitely looking forward to be outdoors and playing again.

“It’s been a couple of months where I have been stuck inside, focussed on fitness and running, the parts that are not too nice, so I’m definitely looking forward to getting outside again, whether it’s in groups of three or more.”