TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
BE prepared. Years from now in a pub far, far away, you could be asked, “Which wicketkeeper who played for SA was born in Trinidad?”
The correct answer would be Steven Katwaroo, who did duty behind the stumps for SA in their 50-over warm-up match against West Indian Cricket Board XI in Port of Spain on Sunday.
Katwaroo wore green and gold because Quinton de Kock was given a break having played 13 of a possible 14 games at the Indian Premier League (IPL). SA’s other wicketkeeping option, AB de Villiers, played in Sunday’s IPL final.
Rain ended the match midway through the home side’s reply to SA’s total of 280/9. The Board XI’s score of 127/3 meant the game was, according to Duckworth/Lewis, tied.
Of Katwaroo’s teammates for a day, only Rilee Rossouw, Wayne Parnell Aaron Phangiso and Kagiso Rabada did not play in the 2016 IPL.
Was not having to come in from the cold of the off-season an advantage?
“Coming to a foreign country you just want to have some time on the legs, especially some of the guys who haven’t played,” Hashim Amla said.
So it seemed, what with Rossouw gone for a third-ball duck and Amla scoring 92. Then again, Phangiso’s hitherto hidden batting ability earned him an unbeaten 34 off as many balls.
The rain hampered SA’s bowlers with JP Duminy smacked for 21 runs in two overs and Wayne Parnell travelling for 35 off four. But Kyle Abbott and Rabada went for less than three runs an over and claimed a wicket each.
For veterans of the IPL the biggest adjustment was remembering to factor in the 30 overs they haven’t been thinking about for the past seven weeks.
“You have a lot more time to set the game up and you’ve got to keep reminding yourself that there’s a lot of time left in the game,” Amla said.
More fine-tuning will be required as SA prepare for their first match of the triseries, against West Indies in Providence on Friday.
“Maybe it’s a bit slower and lower in Guyana but we’ll only really know when we get there,” Amla said.
The Windies are the weakest of the three teams, which means Friday’s game could serve as a warm-up for SA’s match against Australia in Providence on Tuesday.
Don’t expect to see Katwaroo in either of those contests. But already he has a story to tell his grandchildren.