Recently-retired star AB de Villiers has watched every game of the Sri Lankan tour on TV and he said the Proteas’ ODI series win clinched at the weekend was proof that they still have a wonderful vibe within the squad, plus they have managed to groom some fringe players with an eye on the World Cup in less than nine months’ time.
“I was pretty worried after the Tests that it could turn into a long tour for them, but I always thought that it looked like they were still having fun and they have turned things around very well. It shows what a great team spirit and culture there is in the squad. A 5-0 win is now on the cards, which would be a crazy achievement over there,” De Villiers told The Citizen.
ALSO READ: Proteas lose Faf for rest of Sri Lanka tour
“The other big thing is that they have been able to give players exposure and the experience those youngsters have gained of ODI cricket, you can’t measure how vital that is. They will really feel part of the squad, which is so important, because there are guys that can feel a bit left out in a World Cup squad and this will ensure that won’t happen.”
Reeza Hendricks is one of those new faces who was given an opportunity and his call-up for the third ODI resulted in a splendid century on 50-over debut for the Proteas, playing a key role in the 78-run victory that secured an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.
“I never thought about getting a hundred on debut, it’s a very special feeling and even more important to have contributed to the team. The openers gave us a good start and batting with Hashim Amla, he had a calming effect
which meant I was relaxed at the crease.
“I hope it’s the start for me, that I’m able to score many more hundreds going forward, it’s an unexplainable, incredible feeling, I’m over the moon. It’s massive to win the series and it was great to be a part of that, now there are two important games left,” Hendricks said after his 102 off just 89 balls.
Hendricks, who has played 12 T20s for South Africa, is the 14th batsman to score a century on ODI debut, but the first to do it at better than a run-a-ball.