Proteas go ‘unfashionable’ with a surprise T20 pick

Christiaan Jonker has a reputation for being a big hitter. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

Christiaan Jonker has a reputation for being a big hitter. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

Burly Warriors stalwart Christiaan Jonker awarded a potential national cap on a ticket of smashing runs in the closing overs against India.

As far as so-called unfashionable cricketers go, the national selectors did pretty well in selecting Christiaan Jonker.

The 31-year-old Warriors stalwart on Tuesday was arguably the biggest surprise in the Proteas’ T20 squad for the three-match series against India.

But there’s some real method to this apparent “madness”.

One of the curious things about this season’s Ram Slam T2o was how national players pretty much dominated the tournament, revealing perhaps the gulf in class between them and other franchise players.

Jonker, very much out of nowhere, did manage to break the mould.

His 290 runs in that campaign – at a hefty strike rate of 144 – was the most by a batsman who hasn’t played for the Proteas yet.

“Christiaan Jonker has been one of the most explosive finishers in domestic T20 cricket in recent seasons,” said selection convener Linda Zondi.

Indeed, the underrated middle-order blaster from Rustenburg does possess an ability that isn’t particularly easy to find in South Africa.

Jonker can pretty much start smashing it around from the word go.

Most of South African cricket’s most prolific hitters – think Albie Morkel, Lance Klusener – have needed a few balls to get going.

Yet in Jonker, the Proteas feel they might have a guy who cuts down on that time needed to get into the groove.

Reeza Hendricks’ outstanding form has also been rewarded with a recall while nippy Titans quick Junior Dala is also a new inclusion.

Despite the absence of the injured Faf du Plessis and Imran Tahir (who’s been given a break), there’s still experience in stand-in captain JP Duminy and AB de Villiers.

Proteas T20 squad: JP Duminy (c), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, AB de Villiers, Reeza Hendricks, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts

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8 December 2018 THE VAAL

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