When one hears a modern cricket professional plays T20 tournaments around the world, the word “mercenary” jumps up immediately.
It’s not always a good thing.
World cricket has had too many examples of accomplished players being lost to international cricket because of the riches these tournaments bring.
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Yet the Proteas have found the perfect “mercenary” in Rassie van der Dussen, a man who’s travelled abroad to bludgeon T20 attacks but is still available for national duty.
In a modern context, it’s a pretty nice arrangement.
“It’s definitely helped my game playing a few T20 tournaments internationally,” said the 29-year-old.
“You come up against some of the best teams in the world in these tournaments. Doing well there gave me the confidence to know that I can perform at that level.”
That confidence was very much apparent on Tuesday evening when the Highveld Lions star made a composed 56 on international debut against Zimbabwe in East London.
It was a fluent, if unspectacular effort off 44 balls.
“It was pretty close to perfect – a fifty on debut, and to top it off the team winning, which is obviously the most important thing,” said Van der Dussen.
“It’s a dream come true for me. I couldn’t be happier.”
Van der Dussen returns to a favourite hunting ground – Senwes Park in Potchefstroon – on Friday, a venue where he established himself as a senior-level player at North West and the Lions.
“As a player, you always have to try to learn and adapt,” he said.
“You want to get better every day. I came up against Zimbabwe’s bowlers for the first time, so going into the next few games I will reassess and see where I went wrong and where I can do better. Hopefully, I can emulate what I did here in the last two games.”