Rassie upbeat ahead of T20 series despite contrasting build-ups

Rassie van der Dussen accepts South Africa are less finely tuned than England but believes his side are still capable of producing “a curveball” in the Twenty20 series.

While the England and Wales Cricket Board managed to pull off their full international programme in the summer, the Proteas have not played together since March, effectively going into hiatus over the past seven months.

England battle-tuned

Eoin Morgan’s side have had hard-fought white-ball series against Ireland, Pakistan and Australia in that time, as well as two intra-squad matches since arriving in Cape Town last week, but South Africa have even been restricted in training due to two positive Covid-19 cases in camp.

However, while Van der Dussen realises that is not ideal, the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket gives him confidence ahead of Friday’s opener.

“Yes, they’ve played a full summer of cricket and yes they’ve played a bit more than us, it can be an advantage but not necessarily,” said the batsman.

“Luckily a few of our guys have been at the IPL and had time in the middle. But sport, in general, can throw you curve balls every day and you’ve got to deal with that.

“Our preparation has been on point considering everything that’s happened, the coaching and the management has been brilliant.

“It’s a good thing we’re starting with the T20 format, which is a format to express yourself and almost catch up to an extent. Just one or two guys in your team can really swing a result.”

Van der Dussen also brushed aside any suggestion that the recent instability at Cricket South Africa, which has seen mass resignations, wrangles over the interim board and the threat of direct government intervention, would have any lingering on-field impact.

Keen to play cricket

“It’s not ideal. But we’re realistic in that we know we can’t do much about it,” he said.

“We’re employed to play cricket and that’s what we’ll continue to do. We’re here to play cricket and win games for our country, putting positive messages out there to the cricket-loving public.

“We’ll leave it to the suits to sort out. We’re a passionate nation and we want to beat anyone we play against, that’s what it boils down to for us.”