Dwaine Pretorius has always been a particularly hard worker, which is why he is one of the more skilful players in South African cricket, but his work ethic was actually too great for the Proteas management ahead of their match against Sri Lanka, so they stepped in and asked him not to work quite so hard at training.
They had a very good reason for wanting the 30-year-old to calm down a bit – they wanted him to save his energy because he was being recalled for the Sri Lanka game. And for a cricketer who is routinely the last to leave the nets, it was a hugely successful comeback as he took three for 25 in his 10 overs to set up victory for South Africa and win the man of the match award.
“I was training quite hard and the management came and spoke to me and said ‘please don’t train so hard, please don’t exhaust yourself before the game. So I knew before the end of training the day before the game that I would be playing and obviously I was very chuffed. And then we won and it was a good performance, we didn’t scratch through so it was a very good victory.
“I was glad to contribute and I work hard because I just want to be the best version of myself I can be. The T20 World Cup is coming up and I desperately want to be there and hopefully I will be around for the next World Cup in 2023 as well. For that to happen, I have to keep my skills where they should be and carve out a niche for myself as the most consistent and accurate bowler,” Pretorius said.
Pretorius played in the opening match against England and bowled steadily, going for a run-a-ball as the hosts piled up 311 for eight, but he was then rather slackly run out for just a single when he batted.
“Seven overs for 42 was not what got me out of the team, it was probably running myself out that did it. And it was more of a fall into the crease, it certainly wasn’t a dive,” the all-rounder said wryly.
Pretorius was always likely to be one of the players coming in and out of the starting XI, but as one of the most dominant players in domestic cricket, the Highveld Lions stalwart has the credentials to speak authoritatively about the controversy over the standard of franchise cricket and the Cricket South Africa senior managements’ plans to discard it and return to the provincial system.
“There’s been a lot of negative stuff said about the quality of the domestic game, which has been quite interesting because look at Rassie van der Dussen – he only played franchise cricket until a year ago but now he’s setting the world alight. That answers the questions – he’s a very good player who has learnt his trade in the domestic leagues. He’s been able to do well because of what he’s learnt there, he knows his game and has never looked out of his depth in international cricket. So the current system is good, but if we go back to 12 teams then I don’t know what the quality will be like,” Pretorius said.