Anyone who hits the ball harder than Rassie van der Dussen might invite the unwanted attentions of the police. And, when he hits it, it stays hit — for 56 on his T20I debut against Zimbabwe in East London in October 2018, 93 in his first ODI against Pakistan at St George’s Park in January, and for four other half-centuries in his remaining 13 white-ball innings.
In that time, van der Dussen has opened and batted at Nos 3, 4 and 5, hit more than 40 percent of his runs in fours and sixes, and succeeded in a wide range of conditions. He is a splendid splinter of a batsman, innovative of stroke, fleet of foot, always looking for a chance to score, and, like it says above, not afraid to hit the ball hard. There are few experiences anywhere in cricket quite as bracing as the sight and sound of him launching lustily into a pull.
van der Dussen is more than a white-ball basher, having scored 15 centuries and 39 half-centuries in his 184 first-class innings.
None of which made him a lighthouse on the horizon for South Africa’s selectors. Instead, he had plied his trade in England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, and West Indies before he first pulled on a green and gold shirt.
Eight innings into his ODI career he averages 88.25, not least because he was not out in half of those trips to the crease — twice for 50 or more — and his T20I strike rate of 133.15 makes him a serious threat in the shortest format.
Officially van der Dussen is going to the 2019 World Cup as South Africa’s spare batsman. Unofficially the incumbents should be quaking in their pads that he isn’t given too many opportunities. Because, from what he has shown already, he will take them.