Reeza Hendricks on the ups and downs of sport

Reeza Hendricks says the Proteas will have to deal with turning conditions in the Test series in India.
Reeza Hendricks says the Proteas will have to deal with turning conditions in the Test series in India.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Reeza Hendricks admits his career has been an emotional rollercoaster‚ one littered with “highs and lows” and “disappointment” after bursting into the consciousness of world cricket with a brisk century on his ODI debut.

The Kimberly-born star cantered to the fastest century by a debutant against Sri Lanka in Kandy in August 2018 to become only the third South African‚ and the 14th in history‚ to achieve that milestone.

But that Sunday afternoon on August 5 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium remains the only time Hendricks raised his bat to the heavens to salute a century in a Proteas shirt.

His sizzling 102 off just 88 balls propelled the Proteas to victory to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.

The 30-year-old Lions opener has since disappeared under the shadows of established international teammates in former captains Faf du Plessis‚ AB de Villiers‚ Hashim Amla‚ JP Duminy before their retirements.

He then found himself competing with Quinton de Kock‚ Aiden Markram‚ Temba Bavuma and even Rassie van der Dussen in the Proteas batting top order.

Hendricks has also had to watch as newcomers Janneman Malan‚ Kyle Verreynne and Hendrick Klaasen came in and pushed him further down the perking order.

“Yeah sport is full of ups and downs. One day you are the hero and the next day you are not‚ so I think it is important to stay on a good level and stay on that level whether you are doing well or whether you are failing‚” said the stylish right-hander.

Hendricks made his international debut in SA's seven-wicket Twenty20 win against Australia in Adelaide in November 2014 and it appeared that three-ball duck cost him dearly as he had to wait four more years for another chance‚ which came against Sri Lanka and one he grabbed with all his limbs.

He said he has managed to find a way to cope from the ecstasy of his electrifying international arrival to the agony of watching from the sidelines‚ including his harrowing omission from the horrendous Cricket World Cup in England last year.

“Do not over celebrate your successes and equally do not be too hard on yourself‚ and don’t get too down when you are not performing and not doing too well. So maintaining a good level for me I think is very important.”

While the former Griqualand West star still cannot come to terms with what he calls a “handful of opportunities” in the Proteas setup‚ he is determined to continue to work hard and fulfil his potential‚ which includes cracking the SA Test side.

“For me my greatest career ambition will to fulfil my talent to the best of my ability and try and consistently play at the highest level in all three formats and whatever achievements and trophies come with that is just an added bonus.”

The past season was no different for Hendricks‚ another rollercoaster campaign which saw him play just five matches during the tours of England and Australia during the home summer.

Hendricks said he had a stellar domestic season and was left dumbfounded as to how he fell so far down the perking order against England and Australia.

“Yeah it has been an emotion rollercoaster of a season. Obviously being at home now we had some time to reflect and look back on the season.

“From a team point of view I felt that we obviously knew that there were two good teams coming over (England and Australia).

“We were going to really have to play well in order to beat them‚ which I felt we did in stages. We were not really consistent and therefore the results have shown‚” said Hendricks‚ reflecting on the Proteas’ worst ever season.

“On a personal note I feel my season has been a rollercoaster one yeah....up with lots of highs and lots of lows and disappointment as well‚” said Hendricks‚ who feels his domestic form has not been fairly rewarded.

“I felt I did fairly well on the domestic scene where I have contributed in all the formats‚ four-day cricket‚ one-day cricket and the MSL and the Twenty20 format.

“I was obviously quite happy with my performances there but again very disappointed in the international and Proteas setup. I mean I only got a handful of opportunities.

“I’ve been around but did not play. Got left out‚ played a handful of games only and I couldn’t understand why and those are the questions I kept asking myself.

“Those are the disappointments I have had to deal with this past season.”

Hendricks will be comforted by the fact that he is one of 18 elite cricketers in the country that have a national contract with the governing body Cricket South Africa.