CAPE TOWN – Warriors wicket-keeper batsman Sinethemba Qeshile’s meteoric rise is set continue at Centurion today where he is expected to make his Proteas T20 international debut.
The 20-year-old has played just 13 first-class matches and the identical number of list A matches. In fact the Hudson Park graduate has yet to play a professional T20 game, having missed out on selection for any of the Mzansi Super League teams.
However, he now finds himself in the exalted company of Proteas stalwarts Dale Steyn and JP Duminy due to a fantastic debut franchise season. Qeshile has struck 735 runs in 10 four-day matches at an average of 52.50, while he has continued this rich vein of form in the One-Day Cup. He has so far amassed 277 runs at an average of 46.61, which includes a maiden top-level century.
With Quinton de Kock rested for the remaining two T20s against Sri Lanka, and the David Miller experiment behind the stumps proving to be successful at Newlands on Tuesday, the timing may just be right to run with the Warriors prodigy.
“Obviously it would be a huge honour and privilege to play for my country,” Qeshile, told the media yesterday. “I would know that the work of the past few years has actually paid off.
“Having said that there is still a lot of hard work ahead. But at the moment I just want to stay in the present and focus on what is in front of me. I am sure results will follow.”
Although the Proteas’ focus is firmly on the 50-over World Cup to be held later this year in England and Wales, it would be beneficial to have a peek into the future should Qeshile get the nod at Centurion.
It has been well-documented that a host of senior Proteas will exit the international stage after the World Cup in the UK and Qeshile’s selection is certainly part of the contingency plan put forward by national convenor of selectors Linda Zondi.
He forms part of a new core that needs to be built around the likes of Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.
Qeshile, though, doesn’t want to be burdened with that type of expectation right now.
“I just focus on myself and not worry about all those distractions,” he said. “I find it quite difficult to block all comments about me on social media, but I do it very well.
“I started my first franchise season last year. I have really enjoyed it and my intention is to take things simple going forward. I scored fifties in the longer format which fell short of a hundred but that form has helped me with confidence going into the limited-overs format.”
Proteas squad for second and third T20s
JP Duminy (captain), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Sinethemba Qeshile, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.