Rudolph on English wickets, Sammy, and Amla


Jacques Rudolph spoke to <i>Peter Miller</i> of his season so far, South African captaincy and the upcoming rugby internationals between Wales and the Springboks

<i><b>Peter Miller</b> visited Jacques Rudolph as Glamorgan prepared for the second home Twenty20 match of the season. He spoke of his season so far, South African captaincy and the upcoming rugby internationals between Wales and the Springboks.</i>

Jacques Rudolph arrived at Glamorgan this season as a replacement for Marcus North. This is the South African's third spell in county cricket, without doubt the most successful of which was with Yorkshire where he scored over 5000 runs.

A short spell at Surrey was not quite as successful, but as a man with a proven track record in English first class cricket, he represented a good signing for the Welsh county. He has had a few decent scores, but he says he would like to have achieved more so far in first class cricket.

Rudolph said: "From a personal point of view I would have liked for it to have gone a little bit better in the four day cricket. I find it quite difficult to get used to these wickets.

"I find they seam a lot more than the ones I am normally used to. At least there is a lot of talk about the sun coming out, and the wickets getting better."

Glamorgan have got some good results so far in the County Championship, but the batting hasn't really fired as of yet. Rudolph believes the conditions at home have played a big part in that.

He opined: "I find the wicket at Glamorgan a little more difficult. If you look at the four day scores over the last few games here, almost every game a team is 50-5 or 60-6 and that only suggests one thing.

"The wickets can only get better from now on. On the other side we have had someone like Will Bragg who has scored a lot of runs, and he had a method in doing so. I think we can learn from someone like him.

"Considering that we haven't played our best cricket as a team in the four day competition we are still not far from the top. If we squeeze two wins from the next three or four games you never know. We could be in the top two. That is something we have spoken about, to make sure that as a batting and a bowling unit we try and synchronise."

In the new-look county T20 competition Glamorgan have made an excellent start. After five matches they sit in third place of the South Group table and are well placed to make a their first quarter final since 2008. That success so far is based on the excellent starts that Rudolph has put together with the T20 captain Jim Allenby at the top of the order.

He continued: "Fortunately in the T20s it has gone really well. From a team point of view we have got a great squad at the moment and we are playing great cricket. The role between myself and Allenby is quite good because he is more of an attacker, sometimes I go and he sits back a little bit.

"I think it is something that we have done really well up until now. When I was a little bit more conservative he went and vice versa. Hopefully we can continue that. We have momentum and this week we have home ground advantage again."

Glamorgan have signed Darren Sammy, the West Indies T20 captain and World T20 winner, as their second overseas player for the competition. Rudolph says he is an overwhelmingly positive influence to have around, both on and off the field.

"Sammy has a lot of experience and he is a very nice guy. I think just his pure presence when he walks into bat, even if you have to chase 12 or 13 runs an over at the end the opposing team will know he can get those runs.

"I think he brings a lot balance to our team, having him at seven. As a bowling side if you know someone like him is coming in at seven you still have work to do," Rudolph said.

Back at home there has been some changes in the leadership of the national side. After over a decade of loyal service Graeme Smith has departed and he is replaced by Hashim Amla. Rudolph thinks that the respect Amla commands from players will help him motivate the side.

He said of the new skipper: "I haven't really followed it that closely but Hashim outside of cricket is one of the nicest blokes you will ever meet. He is very humble. I think he commands quite a lot of respect just by the way he treats people and he sees people.

"And on top of that he has an incredible record and he is an incredible player. So I think it is a nice mix between him, AB and Faf over the three formats. It is three different styles of leadership.

"I think Hashim is more the quieter one who will just sit behind the back and just make sure the guys go in the right direction. Whether he is still going to be able to give the same performances with the pressure of captaincy, I don't know.

"And obviously on the other side Graeme Smith was an exceptional leader for us, so those are fairly big boots to fill."

In the coming weeks Wales will be playing South Africa in a Rugby Union. Being a South African in Wales he is well aware it is taking place, but he is bullish about the Springboks chances.

He quipped: "I think the skipper Mark Wallace will be all over it, but I am very confident South Africa will do well."

<b>Peter Miller</b>