Birthday special: Rassie van der Dussen – The upcoming pillar of South African batting

South African cricket is going through one of their worst phases since being reinstated by the ICC in 1991. The retirement of a number of greats in quick succession coupled with the mass exodus of players to the UK for Kolpak deals has almost brought South African cricket to its knees. For more than two decades since being reintegrated, South Africa were a force to reckon with across formats.

Amid the gloom, one player who has shown some promise is Rassie van der Dussen. The right-handed batsman is being widely and understandably tipped as the next big thing in South African cricket. Van der Dussen does not really have the aura of his illustrious compatriots like Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla or AB de Villiers but there is little denying that he has got what it takes to etch his name in the history books of South African cricket.

The Dussen story

A latecomer in international cricket, the 31-year old made his debut in 2018 and it did not take him long to make his mark. Till date, van der Dussen is the only batsman in cricket history to have made scores of 50-plus on debut in all three formats. He looked comfortable against both pace and spin from the very beginning, a rare talent for players who grew up playing cricket on fast and bouncy pitches.

In the 2019 World Cup, he showed that he can deliver under pressure too while facing the best in the world. The right-handed batsman had finished the competition as South Africa’s second-highest run-scorer, scoring 310 runs at a stunning average of 62. A few months later, he made his Test debut when England toured South Africa and he made his mark again.

Van der Dussen finished the series as South Africa’s second-highest run-scorer. In four Tests, he scored three half-centuries with a best of 98 to give another proof of his undeniable talent as well as fine temperament. As far as his T20 credentials are concerned, he showed it by finishing the inaugural edition of the Mzansi Premier League as the highest run-scorer that eventually paved the way for his debut in international cricket.

Talking about his international career so far, van der Dussen has played 7 Tests, 21 ODIs and 18 T20Is, scoring over 1,500 runs with the help of 15 fifties across formats. While only time will tell how he fares in international cricket, it would not be wrong to say that he has been very impressive so far and could be the man to take South African cricket forward in the coming years.