Exclusive: Piedt picked for 'ability to win in fourth innings'

News

Spin bowler Dane Piedt has basked in Tuesday's call-up to South Africa's Test squad alongside fellow international rookie Stiaan van Zyl.

Spin bowler Dane Piedt has basked in Tuesday's call-up to South Africa's Test squad alongside fellow international rookie Stiaan van Zyl.

Piedt and van Zyl, who were contemporaries at Kenridge Primary in Durbanville, have been named in a new-look squad for July's two-match series against Sri Lanka that also includes wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and burgeoning fast bowler Kyle Abbott.

"We know each other from back in the day. We went to the same primary school. To be called up at the same time, maybe it is a blessing in disguise," Piedt told <i><b>Cricket365</b></i>.

"We have spoken to each other since getting the call, told each other we are proud of each other, congratulated each other. Hopefully we can be room-mates together in Sri Lanka.

"I found out late in the afternoon on Monday – and it is an unreal feeling. There are no words to put into a sentence as to how I am feeling right now. It has been a childhood dream of mine, since I was about five or six years old, to play for South Africa.

"It sounds a bit cliched but, yes, a childhood a dream of mine. Hopefully, if I get the chance, I will do well. This really is unreal. I did not tell my parents until they got home. I did call my coach, Paul Adams, to tell him that I had got the call to say that I was going to Sri Lanka."

The 24-year-old Piedt was particularly prolific in the country's first-class contest this season, clinching 45 wickets in eight matches at the outstanding average of 19.93, including an innings best of six for 100 and a rare hat-trick against the Durban-based Dolphins.

"My ability to win games in the fourth innings is the thing that has stood out for me the most. Also taking five-wicket hauls, a few of them, stood out – that's the main thing. The way I controlled the innings when I bowled, that was important," he added.

Batsman Hashim Amla, meanwhile, has replaced the retired Graeme Smith as Test captain. ODI skipper AB de Villiers, T20I leader Hashim Amla and all-rounder JP Duminy were also in contention, but were ultimately overlooked.

"Hashim is a calming influence. I trained with him a few times during the season earlier this year, with the Cobras. He is calm, a hard worker. He appreciates the game, he appreciates the craft. He has a good cricketing brain – and it will be good to work with him. There are exciting times ahead," concluded Piedt.

The Sri Lankans and Proteas will meet for two Tests – at the Galle International Stadium and Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo – between 16 and 28 July. The series will be preceded by three ODIs.

<b>Jonhenry Wilson</b>

Latest