Reeza Hendricks

Back on home turf, Reeza Hendricks eyes World Cup spot

SA v Zim, news

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With one eye on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, South Africa opener Reeza Hendricks hopes to impress against Zimbabwe to pin down his position. But a revitalised Zimbabwe aren't going to give in easily.

Hendricks has had an exciting start to his one-day international career. In his debut game for South Africa, against Sri Lanka in Pallekele, he scored a century, setting up a series win for his side.

However, in the two ODIs that followed, he was out for scores of two and a duck. The three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe will give him the opportunity to set things right and consolidate a place in the South African ODI team.

The 29-year-old opening batsman has his eyes firmly set on a berth in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, and he hopes to make the series against Zimbabwe count towards making that dream come true. It helps that his first ODI in South Africa will be at Kimberly's Diamond Oval – the ground he learnt his cricket at.

“I happened to have a good start to the ODI career. In saying that, it is only a start. The three-match series against Zimbabwe is another opportunity to put in a few more good performances. I am taking it series by series, and hopefully I can achieve that goal of going to the World Cup,” Hendricks said.

“It is definitely going to be a special moment walking out here at the Diamond Oval representing the Proteas in the green and gold.

“This is my home town, this is where my cricket started from a very young age. I represented Griqualand West in all age-groups, so it will be a proud moment walking out on the field on Sunday in Proteas colours in front of my family and friends.”

South Africa has to be aware that this is not the Zimbabwe team of the past.

Zimbabwe, who were whitewashed 5-0 by Pakistan in their previous ODI series, might seem like an easy target for Hendricks and South Africa, but with senior players like Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine returning to the side, they look a far more threatening unit.

Coach Lalchand Rajput sounded buoyant about his team's chances.

"A challenge always gets the best out of me and the players"

“South Africa is always a big challenge, but a challenge always gets the best out of me and the players,” said Rajput. “The series we played when I took over was not good for us, but it was never going to be easy to face Australia and Pakistan in the T20I triangular series and then Pakistan in the ODI series when we were missing seven to eight players.

“But now that the players are back, it looks a balanced team – a team that wants to do well. Apart from Graeme Cremer and Sikandar Raza, most of our senior players are back and, when experience and youth combine, we can get the best out of the team.”

“We have had a very good preparatory camp for two months and when you prepare well, normally results will be on your side,” he said.

“South Africa has to be aware that this is not the Zimbabwe team of the past. This is a team that is going to give them a good run for their money."

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