The famous gardens of The Vineyard hotel, where the Proteas are staying in Cape Town, provide some ideal habitat at the base of Table Mountain for Rassie van der Dussen to indulge his love of birdwatching and the South African batsman says being in the bio-bubble is really rather pleasant for him, giving him plenty of time to think about ways of improving his already impressive game as the white-ball series against England loom ever closer.
Van der Dussen showed off his new bird book during his virtual interview from his hotel room on Tuesday and, as he has ever since his belated Proteas call-up, looked a man completely at ease with his surroundings. But that does not mean he is at all complacent, and as a great thinker on the game he is also spending time on devising ways to get better.
“The bio-bubble’s not too bad, I’m quite happy with my own conversation and it’s not a struggle to be on my own, I like to read and think about things a lot,” Van der Dussen said.
“I can sit for an hour doing what seems like nothing, no problem. And being confined to a five-star hotel is an absolutely minute price to pay to be able to do what we love doing and represent our country.
“Getting 5% better is what my thinking is all about and I’ve worked really hard on making my weaknesses better. (Coach) Mark Boucher has been brilliant in communicating where he feels I can be better.
“At the start of the innings I could have more intensity, I’ve sort of eased my way into my innings. I’ve tried to get to 20 balls and not worry about my score because I know I can catch up. But having 20 off 20 balls is better than having 10, plus against spin in the middle overs I’ve had one or two technical flaws which I’m working on,” Van der Dussen said on Tuesday.
And the middle overs are also an area in which the team as a whole feel they need to improve against England in the three-match T20 series that starts at Newlands on Friday night. And it is the part of the innings in which Van der Dussen will probably feature, even though he has also opened the batting and been a finisher for the Proteas.
“I’m probably at my best at No 3 but Faf du Plessis is world-class in that position,” he said. “No 4 is not too different and that’s probably the position I’m looking at, which means maybe you go in during the powerplay or the middle of the innings, or if things go really well you come in at the back end of the innings. But I feel I have all three aspects in my game, I’ve opened once or twice, too, and that is still part of my game as well.
“Even though the recent series have been quite closely-fought, we haven’t been at our best in T20 cricket and we obviously have areas to improve. One of them is that we’ve been getting really good starts with the bat and maybe falling away in the middle overs, then have good finishes. But those overs from seven to 15 we can definitely improve, as well as starting well with the ball,” Van der Dussen said.