Proteas batsman Reeza Hendricks looking forward to returning to training

10 June 2020 - 12:29 By Tiisetso Malepa
Reeza Hendricks stretches during a training session at Newlands in Cape Town on February 25 2020 before Covid-19 halted sport worldwide.
Reeza Hendricks stretches during a training session at Newlands in Cape Town on February 25 2020 before Covid-19 halted sport worldwide.
Image: BackpagePix

Proteas batsman Reeza Hendricks is looking forward to returning to training‚ even if it is in small groups‚ and has set his eyes on cracking the national Test team when cricket resumes post Covid-19.

“Lockdown has been very difficult for us as we are used to being outdoors and playing‚ and being active. So we are definitely looking forward to getting out there and training again‚ whether it is in groups of three or more‚ it will be a start‚” said the Kimberley-born star.

Sport minister Nathi Mthethwa last month laid the foundation for non-contact sports such as golf‚ tennis‚ athletics and cricket to gradually resume events behind closed doors starting on June 1.

Full training is expected to be announced in the coming days and weeks as sports federations await the green light from Mthethwa in line with government’s controlled relaxation of the coronavirus-enforced restrictions.

A Cricket South Africa (CSA) Covid Steering Committee is working tirelessly around the clock with the sports department in a bid to have its protocols and safety measures covering the return to playing approved.

Hendricks has a national contract but is yet to feature for the Test side despite having played a combined 43 matches in the short formats for the Proteas since his Twenty20 debut in 2014.

The 30-year-old has had a rollercoaster Proteas career with chances few and far in between‚ but he is hopeful that his exploits in red-ball cricket on the domestic circuit over the past seasons will culminate with a Test cap when the sport does resume.

“I have been working quite hard on my red-ball cricket over the last three years and I feel I have done fairly well for the Lions over the last three years.”

Hendricks is a veteran of 132 career first-class matches and has scored 7‚410 runs since his debut for Griqualand West against Namibia at Kimberley in November 2006.

He has either opened the batting or batted at three in the shorter formats throughout his career but sees himself as a versatile top order batsman who can bat all the way down to six.

“In the longer format I feel I’m flexible and I can bat from two to five or even from two to six‚” said Hendricks.

“In the shorter format I definitely prefer (batting at) two or three because it is just where I have been batting for a very long period now and obviously I have some successes there.

“So obviously I'm quite happy and comfortable to do that (bat at two or three) but in the longer format I’m quite flexible I can bat between two and six.”

The Proteas Test side is supposed to tour the West Indies for the first time in a decade with the first match in late July in Trinidad.

While confined at his home during the lockdown Hendricks has been busy fine-tuning his game in case he cracks the nod to partner Dean Elgar for the opening wicket for the Caribbean tour.

“My movements towards the ball and I think that ties in with my shoulder and my head‚ which I have been focusing on quite a bit to get it nicely in line with whichever way the ball is coming from and moving towards that line so that I don’t over balance.”