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Runs for Verreynne and Klaasen will ease concerns over Proteas batting in Australia

Runs for Verreynne and Klaasen will ease concerns over Proteas batting in Australia

Johannesburg — Double centuries for Kyle Verreynne and Heinrich Klaasen on Friday would have further eased some of Malibongwe Maketa’s concerns about the Proteas’s batting ahead of the tour to Australia next month.

It may also have created a headache for the national team’s new interim head coach.

Verreynne scored 201 not out for Six Gun Grill Western Province in their Four-Day series clash with neighbours the Gbets (Boland) Rocks at Newlands. Meanwhile, in Centurion, Klaasen completed the second double hundred of his career, scoring 292 as the Multiply Titans continued to dominate with the bat against the ITEC (Free State) Knights.

For Maketa, who was parachuted into the head coaching job following Mark Boucher’s surprise resignation, the success for the batters will be a vital fillip ahead of the squad’s departure for Australia on December 1.

Besides the two wicketkeeper/batters, Dean Elgar’s 137 on Thursday and Rassie van der Dussen’s 45 for the Lions — in his first innings in three months — will also have given Maketa reason to smile. The only disappointments have been Sarel Erwee, who scored just 11 for the Hollywood Bets (KZN) Dolphins in their match with the Dafabet (Eastern Province) Warriors in Gqeberha, and Theunis de Bruyn, who was recalled to the Test squad after an absence of three years, but scored only 25 in batter friendly conditions in Centurion.

In one respect, Verreynne, the Test incumbent, and Klaasen, who played his only Test in 2019, could be viewed as competing for one spot. However, Maketa has stated he would be willing to weigh up the option of playing seven batters — a strategy used by Gary Kirsten when he coached the Proteas to a 1-0 series win in Australia in 2012.

That would open the door to using both Verreynne and Klaasen, thereby lengthening the batting in an attempt to plaster over the cracks of a fragile batting unit.

The Proteas’s batting has been poor for much of the past 18 months, and ahead of the three Test series against Australia it is the main area of concern for Maketa. Since last summer’s series against India, the Proteas have scored only two hundreds, both of which came in the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch.

Van der Dussen acknowledged the batting was a problem, but said it needed to be seen in context. “If you look at the last two years, the conditions that we have played in have been really tough, and I think we must see it in context,” he said this week.

@shockerhess

IOL Sport

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