Rassie van der Dussen to make his Test debut when Proteas face England on Boxing Day
Batsman Rassie van der Dussen will make his Test debut for the Proteas in the opening match between South Africa and England at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Boxing Day.
The 30-year-old Van der Dussen‚ who was one of the few players to impress during the ill-fated World Cup campaign a few months ago‚ will bat at number five in the absence of the injured Temba Bavuma. Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday afternoon‚ captain Faf du Plessis said he is confident that Van der Dussen will make a seamless transition to the rigours of red ball cricket.
“Similar to ODI cricket‚ when he started for the Proteas he was a matured cricketer and someone who knew his game very well‚” said Du Plessis about Van der Dussen who has played 18 ODIs and nine T20s for the Proteas.
“He came into international cricket looking very comfortable‚ over the last season and a half has been very fruitful and he scored a lot of runs with the white ball cricket.
"We have been looking at him for a while and we want to see how he can fit in‚ but he is calm and composed with the bat.
"You can just see it sometimes that he is suited for international cricket and that’s been the case with him.
"It was easier to bring him into the team and I think he will be very much at home.”
Further explaining how they are going to balance the team for the first of four Tests‚ Du Plessis revealed that they are seriously looking at the option of bringing in an all-rounder and yet to decide on the extra bowler.
“We are looking at the option of bringing an all-rounder at the number seven position and Rassie (Van der Dussen) to come in at number five‚" he said.
"We will decide on who our extra bowler is going to be after assessing the conditions.
"We are not practicing on Wednesday (Christmas Day) and in a normal environment we were going to make that decision tomorrow‚ but we will make the decision in the morning of the Test match."
The other player who is likely to get the nod is another debutant Dwaine Pretorius‚ and for the extra fast bowler the think tank will have to make a call between Dane Paterson‚ Anrich Nortje and Beuran Hendricks.
The Proteas skipper also said the impact of head coach Mark Boucher and batting consultant Jacques Kallis is being felt already in the camp.
"It’s been a breath of fresh air‚" he said.
"There is a real energy in the squad to what we have been doing and how we have been training with Kallis and Boucher in the team.
"Even someone like myself who has played a lot of international cricket‚ I feel like it helps to have them.
"You are almost in a position of saying why have these guys not been here for the last 10 years because if you look around international cricket teams have that.
"I can use the Australian team as an example - they have Justin Langer‚ Ricky Ponting Steve Waugh and you say I want that."
Probable Proteas Squad: Dean Elgar‚ Aiden Markram‚ Zubayr Hamza‚ Faf du Plessis‚ Rassie van der Dussen‚ Quinton de Kock‚ Dwane Pretorius‚ Vernon Philander‚ Kagiso Rabada‚ Keshav Maharaj‚ Dane Paterson/Anrich Nortje