‘Second unlucky to miss out on NZ tour’
‘Forgotten man, discarded and falling into oblivion’ are some of the words or phrases that every South African cricketer dreads.
And judging by the way Rudi Second has performed in propelling the VKB Knights to the Sunfoil Series crown this season, as well as his aggression in the Momentum One-Day Cup campaign, it would seem that all those words apply.
But Nicky Bojé, a former South African spinner and Second’s coach at the VKB Knights, says the wicketkeeper-batsman is still in the selectors’ thoughts.
“He was definitely in the running (as second wicketkeeper of the South African test team). In my book, it was a close call. In fact, I think he can be disappointed he was not selected,” the coach said.
Apart from his average of 52.61 in the Sunfoil Series, Second was comfortably the most successful wicketkeeper statistically, finishing with 47 wickets, 10 more than Heinrich Klaasen.
Bojé says in the Momentum One Day Cup campaign, Second hammered a 75 and averages 39.20, but the lack of more consistency with the blade by the top-seven has been one of the problem areas for the VKB Knights.
“If we want to come close to winning the series, we must be much more consistent. In the Sunfoil Series, you need eight to nine players to confirm consistently, which we managed. In the CSA T20 Challenge, you require three players to produce the goods.”
“In the Momentum One-Day Cup series, four to six players must perform excellently,” he said.
Second averages 46.86 in domestic one-day cricket.
Bojé says Second is a no-thrills player. He works meticulously at his arts of batting and wicket-keeping.
“He loves batting and he enjoys spending an extended time at the crease. And that is why he has performed so well. That was a reason why Jacques Kallis was so excellent. He simply adored batting for long periods.”
“Second also grafts very hard to improve his ability with the gloves,” he mentioned.
“I would say he can represent South Africa A right now, even if it is purely as a batsman. He is that good. I would think he should be playing for South Africa A against England A in the South African off-season,” he added.
Second is more philosophical and sanguine about the reasons for being out of the international limelight.
He alluded to the fact that he might have botched his chances to knock on the national door by not grabbing his opportunities in the South African A team against the England Lions in 2014/2015.
“I did not score enough runs. I managed 27 and an unbeaten 27. I also did not have the best outings with the gloves in that series,” he added.
Since then, he has improved markedly and if being given the opportunities, he would definitely utilize them.
His great challenge is to perform with distinction in the next five Momentum One-Day Cup clashes to make the selectors aware of his form with the bat and the gloves, he said.