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Rassie van der Dussen’s return is big for the Lions and the Proteas

Rassie van der Dussen’s return is big for the Lions and the Proteas

Johannesburg — Rassie van der Dussen; along with his finger, mindset and form will be under the microscope as the DP World (Gauteng) Lions kick off their challenge in the Cricket SA Four-Day Series in Potchefstroom against the North West Dragons on Thursday.

Due to the peculiarities of a miniscule domestic schedule neither the Lions nor the Dolphins, from KwaZulu-Natal, were in action last week when the Four-Day competition started for the Division One teams.

For the Lions, it provided extra time to polish their preparations after what was a disappointing run in the T20 Challenge, which was also held in Potchefstroom. The Lions finished in fifth spot after the round-robin phase, and failed to find any consistency over the course of the three weeks of that tournament.

However Van der Dussen’s return adds a great deal of experience and class for a team that narrowly missed out on the title last season, losing their final match to the eventual champions the Titans.

The 33 year old, who has played 17 Tests, was sidelined after shattering the knuckle on his left forefinger while fielding during the second Test between the Proteas and England in Manchester in August. He subsequently missed the rest of that series and the T20 World Cup.

Van der Dussen was named in the Proteas Test squad for next month’s series against Australia Down Under and with South Africa’s batting recently having been inconsistent, the national team’s interim head coach Malibongwe Maketa is relying heavily on Van der Dussen to contribute.

The Lions have a powerful squad, featuring a host of Proteas. However Temba Bavuma, the Proteas’s limited overs captain, and Kagiso Rabada, have been given extra time off by Maketa after the T20 World Cup, where both played in every game. Bavuma is more in need of a mental break than anything else, as he continues to try and absorb the disappointment of the Proteas’ shocking exit from that tournament.

Reeza Hendricks, who controversially didn’t play a single match in Australia, despite being one of the team’s most in-form batters, will most likely feature against the Dragons, along with left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, who was part of the auxiliary group at the World Cup.

The status of all-rounder Sisanda Magala is still a mystery. He missed the entire T20 Challenge having failed to adhere to Cricket SA’s fitness protocols.

The Lions will be led by Dominic Hendricks.

SQUAD:

Dominic Hendricks (capt), Temba Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Ryan Rickelton, Bjorn Fortuin, Wiaan Mulder, Codi Yusuf, Lutho Sipamla, Kagiso Rapulana, Sisanda Magala, Duanne Olivier, Tladi Bokako, Joshua Richards, Malusi Siboto, Mitch Van Buuren, Connor Esterhuizen

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