Zondo earns maiden Proteas call-up

Sunfoil Dolphins middle order batsman Khaya Zondo received his maiden national call up on Wednesday when he was chosen as part of the Oxigen Proteas T20 squad to take on India in the sub-continent at the end of September and the young star is thrilled with the news.

Having been a regular member of the Sunfoil Dolphins outfit for the past few seasons, Zondo believe this extended run at franchise level and three opportunities with the South African ‘A’ squad have prepared him well should he be given an opportunity to showcase his skills during the upcoming Indian assignment.

“It’s a step up from franchise to SA ‘A’ level and I’m sure it will be another big step up again to international level but after three tours with the SA ‘A’ squad I think I’m now ready,” said Zondo.

“It’s important you’re fully prepared once you get to international level because you’re not there to be coached, you’re there to perform.”

The 25 year-old former Westville Boys High School pupil received the news late on Tuesday night however it wasn’t until he went onto Facebook that the news really sunk in.

“When I opened up Facebook and there was a friend request from AB de Villiers then I realized that this was pretty real,” laughed Zondo.

“The support I’ve had since the announcement – even from the team itself – has been great; I received a call from the coach and Temba (Bavuma) and lots of my friends and family too.”

Injury to Rilee Rossouw created the opportunity for Zondo who had impressed throughout the recent triangular ODI series in India between South Africa ‘A’, Australia ‘A’ and India ‘A’ where he finished with the second best batting average of 38.50 behind Quinton de Kock.

“It’s important to reward guys who have done well in the SA ‘A’ side,” said convener of selectors, Linda Zondi on Zondo’s selection.

While many battle to adjust to conditions in the sub-continent, Zondo is looking forward to returning to a place he has enjoyed touring to previously and doesn’t believe the necessary adjustment will be an issue for him.

“I’ve been to India a few times before for a spinning camp, last year’s Champions League and now the SA ‘A’ team’s recent triangular series.

“Also, traveling around a place like South Africa that is as diverse as it is helps prepare you for a place like India.

“I’ve had a good time in India before and hopefully this can another good tour!” said Zondo.

Zondo joins fellow Sunfoil Dolphins stars David Miller, Imran Tahir and Kyle Abbott in the T20 outfit and should the young star make his debut during the trip, he will become the 65th capped player for South Africa in the shortest format.

Miller, Abbott and Tahir will also look to fly the franchise’s flag high during the two month long Indian trip when they represent the Castle Lager Proteas ODI squad while Tahir has also been included in the 15-man Castle Lager Proteas Test squad.

Castle Lager Proteas Test squad
Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras, capt), AB de Villiers (The Unlimited Titans, vice-capt), Temba Bavuma (bizhub Highveld Lions), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (The Unlimited Titans), Dean Elgar (The Unlimited Titans), Simon Harmer (Warriors), Imran Tahir (Sunfoil Dolphins), Morne Morkel (The Unlimited Titans), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (bizhub Highveld Lions), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Stiaan van Zyl (Cape Cobras), Dane Vilas (Cape Cobras)

Castle Lager Proteas ODI squad
AB de Villiers (The Unlimited Titans, capt), Kyle Abbott (Sunfoil Dolphins), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Farhaan Behardien (The Unlimited Titans), Quinton de Kock (The Unlimited Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (The Unlimited Titans), Imran Tahir (Sunfoil Dolphins), David Miller (Sunfoil Dolphins), Morne Morkel (The Unlimited Titans), Chris Morris (The Unlimited Titans), Aaron Phangiso (bizhub Highveld Lions), Kagiso Rabada (bizhub Highveld Lions), Rilee Rossouw (VKB Knights), Dale Steyn (Nashua Cape Cobras)

Oxigen Proteas T20 squad
Faf du Plessis (The Unlimited Titans, capt), Kyle Abbott (Sunfoil Dolphins), Hashim Amla (Nashua Cape Cobras), Farhaan Behardien (The Unlimited Titans), Quinton de Kock (The Unlimited Titans), Marchant de Lange (The Unlimited Titans), AB de Villiers (The Unlimited Titans), JP Duminy (Nashua Cape Cobras), Imran Tahir (Sunfoil Dolphins), Eddie Leie (bizhub Highveld Lions), David Miller (Sunfoil Dolphins), Chris Morris (The Unlimited Titans), Kagiso Rabada (bizhub Highveld Lions), David Wiese (The Unlimited Titans), Khaya Zondo (Sunfoil Dolphins)