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Rassie van der Dussen urges top-order batters to take responsibility in New Zealand

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Rassie van der Dussen says top-order batters must take responsibility against New Zealand.
Rassie van der Dussen says top-order batters must take responsibility against New Zealand.
Image: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

Rassie van der Dussen has called on the Proteas top-order batting unit to take responsibility and score big runs during their two-match Test series against New Zealand at the Hagley Oval.

The series against New Zealand, who will be without batting mainstays in recently retired Ross Taylor and injured captain Kane Williamson, starts with the first Test on Thursday in Christchurch.

To add to the notable absence of Taylor and Williamson, the Black Caps will also be without pace spearhead Trent Boult who is awaiting the birth of a child and has been replaced by Matt Henry.

Though New Zealand’s batting has been weakened, SA have their usual top order of Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma and either Sarel Erwee or Zubayr Hamza to replace Keegan Petersen.

“I definitely hope to see one or two hundreds,” said Van der Dussen.

“When you look at the past two or three years, and I am definitely not using this as an excuse, SA has been the toughest place to bat in terms of Test cricket because of how the pitches play.

“I feel we have been up to the task and we have just beaten the number one Test side in SA in those conditions. If you look at the way KP (Petersen) batted during the last series against India, a score of 50 or 60 was probably worth 100 plus.

“But in saying that, as a batter your currency is runs and in Test cricket your currency is hundreds and playing innings that either put your team in winning positions or winning the match.

“In these two matches against New Zealand, I think the batters must take responsibility and make sure that when you get on is your day and really make it big.”

The only expected change in the Proteas line-up is who is going to replace Petersen between Erwee and Hamza, and Van der Dussen says they are both capable.

“Probably, the likely candidate to come in is Sarel who is a very experienced domestic cricketer and he has been on tours with us for more than a year now.

“He is a guy who knows how to bat long and score big runs. For me the step up into international cricket was a case of fundamentals staying the same depending on the intensity and skill from the bowlers that you come up against.

“Whether it is him (Sarel) or Hamza, these guys are very experienced and they know what they are doing at the crease and what their games are about.

“For us as a squad, whoever comes in and whether it is making a debut or not, I think that guy will know that he has the backing of the team, he deserves his spot and has nothing to prove.”