Keegan Petersen says there have been nerves and excitement, gratitude and a sense of privilege, but no frustration during his lengthy time in the Proteas squad without actually playing in a match, which looks set to come to an end in the Caribbean.
South Africa take on the West Indies in the first Test from June 10 and there is a vacancy in the batting line-up with Faf du Plessis having retired. And new captain Dean Elgar only mentioned Petersen when he was asked last weekend about who was in the mix to replace the former captain.
“It’s been a while being in the squad, but it doesn’t feel like a long time because it is always so nice coming into this environment,
“It’s a higher level of professionalism and it’s a privilege to be here. So it hasn’t required much patience, I’m just grateful to be here and there hasn’t been any frustration. But I have been nervous for a while and I get goosebumps just thinking about making my debut.
“I know I’ll have big boots to fill and when your dream becomes a reality, it gives your system a bit of a shock. I don’t know how selection is going to go, but I am extremely excited to represent my country and it would mean the world to my family.
“We are very close and tight-knit, and my pride is their pride and my tears are their tears. This is what I dreamed of as a kid.”
The 27-year-old had to leave his family in Paarl to make those cricketing dreams come true, and he said he was pleased the winding road of his career had brought him to Durban and playing for the champion Dolphins side.
“It’s been an up-and-down journey from Paarl to Bloemfontein to Durban,” Petersen said.
“So I’ve gone from coast to coast, it’s been a long journey. I’ve been in the first-class system for almost 10 years, so I’ve been around. So it would mean a lot to get a go on this tour because I know the journey has been tough and long, this is what I’ve worked for, why I play cricket.
“I like to think I’ve built a reputation over the last couple of years in domestic cricket and I’ve learnt a lot since joining the Dolphins, it has expanded my game in testing conditions in Durban.
“Kingsmead has prepared me for any slow or turning pitch because that’s all we get there to be honest. It’s a spinning wicket and I know I’ll be prepared for whatever I get in the Caribbean.”