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Emerging Proteas top order batter Petersen happy at number three

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Proteas batter Keegan Petersen is happy to continue batting at number three.
Proteas batter Keegan Petersen is happy to continue batting at number three.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

A lot has been said about the best batting position for Keegan Petersen, but the emerging Proteas top order batter prefers to continue at number three.

In his five Test matches against West Indies (two) and India (three) since he made his debut last year, Petersen has often found himself facing the new ball.

This is due to the ongoing struggles of openers Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram, whose highest partnership over the last five Tests is 47 off 60 they scored during the second innings of the second Test against India in Johannesburg.

“I chose to bat number three,” said the 28-year-old, who added that facing the new ball doesn’t bother him too much.

“There is always the threat of opening the batting most times but I chose it and I will have to deal with it as it comes. People have said a lot about our opening batters but we all know they are world-class. Their records speaks for themselves and they will come good eventually.”

A proven top order batter of more than 100 First-Class matches for the Cobras, Boland and the Knights, Petersen said his vast domestic experience has helped him to settle in the tough terrains of international cricket.

“I have been playing First-Class cricket for more than 10 years. It has taken me long to get to the Proteas but I am fortunate because over the years I have experienced different scenarios.

“I use my First-Class experience as a tool to come up against all the challenges of international cricket where you constantly come up against world-class bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur of India.

During his five Tests, Petersen has returned with 320 runs, at a reasonable average of 35.55, and his highest score is 82 he notched up against India.

During the series against India, he was the only player to score three half-centuries, with scores of 72, 82 and 62, and he was also useful with his fielding at slips.

He credits his father Dirk for planting the cricket seed in him.

“If I can celebrate him every day, I would because he has been a pillar in my life. He’s taught me everything I know about the game, about myself and my batting and I can’t deny he has been the biggest mentor throughout my life. “Not only in cricket but in all aspects of my life. I am lucky to have someone like him in my life because lots of kids don’t have that.”

Petersen has an opportunity to add to his 320 runs during their two match Test tour against New Zealand in Christchurch later this month.

“It is going to be a new and different challenge, for me at least, and one I am really looking forward to.

“It will be my first time going to that part of the world and as a team we are going to have to assess conditions quickly when we get there and adjust accordingly to find the best way to go about things.”

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