Rassie van der Dussen ready to battle young guns to stand Test of time

Rassie van der Dussen of DP Lions Bats during the CSA 4-Day Franchise Series 2022/23 Cricket match between DP Lions and Multiply Titans

File. The 34-year-old Rassie van der Dussen still has ambitions of making a return to the Test side, but is realistic about how slim his chances are of being a part of the highly anticipated India series. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Nov 28, 2023


The second unofficial Test between South Africa A and West Indies A will get under way today at Buffalo Park in East London, and having lost by a single wicket in Benoni last week, the hosts will be out to level the series.

It will be another opportunity for the fringe players who will not only be hopeful of travelling to New Zealand early next year, but of also being involved in the forthcoming India Test series, which starts on Boxing Day.

The likes of Keegan Petersen and Tony de Zorzi will likely feature today having pushed the likes of Rassie van der Dussen out of the running for a spot in the Test side for the India series.

Test and SA A coach Shukri Conrad set out his intentions in his first series in charge earlier this year when he dropped Van der Dussen from the Test side, opting to go for the younger group of De Zorzi, Ryan Rickleton and Petersen.

Rassie needs to put in the work

Despite averaging just over 30 in 32 innings in Test cricket with no century to his name, Van der Dussen still averages 47 in first-class cricket. The 34-year-old still has ambitions of making a return to the Test side but is realistic about how slim his chances are of being a part of the highly anticipated India series.

However, Van der Dussen carries exceptional form having had an almost flawless Cricket World Cup campaign where he scored two centuries and two fifties.

“I definitely have the ambition to play Tests,” Van der Dussen said.

“I’m a realistic guy in the sense of I know I got a lot of opportunities in the Test side. I always just did well enough to stay in the team with contributions here and there but the one thing I think has been missing in my Test career is big hundreds.

“I’ve never managed to get to a hundred runs in Test cricket. You can’t be regretful, but it is a box that I’ve never ticked.

“Realistically, you have to say that the guys that came in in that West Indies series, those guys also need to have a fair run like I’ve had. I’m not sure by the time they’ve had their run where I’d be in my career.

“If I’d get the call to come up and play against India now, I’d definitely take it but I’m also realistic in the sense of when you commit to new faces, in the form of De Zorzi, Rickelton and those types of guys, you have to give them a good run of five to six Test matches for them to find their feet.

“I’m definitely not closed to it but a lot will need to happen for me to get back in that side.”

Proteas squad a bit of a mystery

To show his desire to get back into the Test side, one would have expected Van der Dussen to turn up for the Lions later this week when they head down to Gqeberha to face the Warriors in the third round of the 4-Day competition.

However, the white-ball leg of the India tour is scheduled to start on December 10 and it is unclear what type of squads Rob Walter will select for the T20I and ODI series.

“We haven’t had a conversation with Rob in terms of what the squads are looking like for India, but it definitely does clash with the domestic cricket now,” said Van der Dussen.

“Having had a busy three or four months, everyone has been given off for this first fourday match. For me it’s always been about playing for my country, it’s never been about anything else and If I could play another few Tests I’d definitely try and do that.”