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Dippenaar backs Rudolph for Test success

Firdose Moonda

October 4, 2011

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Jacques Rudolph fell for 99 against Hampshire, Hampshire v Yorkshire, County Championship, Division One, Rose Bowl, August 2, 2011
Jacques Rudolph has reinvented his game during his time with Yorkshire © Getty Images
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Boeta Dippenaar, the former South Africa batsman, thinks Jacques Rudolph can become "the Michael Hussey of South African cricket," after playing against him on the weekend. Dippenaar, who last played for South Africa in 2007, still turns out for the Knights franchise and was in the field for both of Rudolph's brisk half-centuries for the Titans in their SuperSport Series opener.

"He looked like a batsman that is worlds apart from the rest and that includes some national players," Dippenaar said. "The Jacques Rudolph that I played with [for South Africa] and the Jacques Rudolph that I saw last weekend are two very different players." Rudolph and Dippenaar played 13 Tests together and shared in a 429-run third wicket partnership against Bangladesh in 2003. Both their international careers simmered without ever exploding and although Dippenaar, at 34-years-old, is unlikely to stake a claim for a national place again, he believes Rudolph will.

Rudolph returned to South Africa last year, after spending three years with Yorkshire in England. He topped the SuperSport Series batting charts in his first season back for the Titans. His time in county cricket appeared to have revolutionised his game and Dippenaar said the difference was noticeable. "I sense that Jacques knows his game inside out. He plays with lots of confidence, he is so calculated, there are no risks and he takes the game to the bowlers in a very clinical way."

Although Rudolph could not convert either of his half-centuries into hundreds in the last match he played, he was pleased with the way he performed on a challenging Centurion pitch. "It was the kind of wicket where I felt I had to play attacking cricket and it worked for me until I got out," Rudolph said. "The two months I spent back in Yorkshire this winter was very good for me, it was the right move to have a bit of a pre-season."

Rudolph has been putting pressure on Alviro Petersen for a slot as opener in the South Africa Test side. Petersen started the domestic season with 186 and 64 for the Lions, but Dippenaar still sees room for Rudolph in the Test team. With AB de Villiers' finger injury, Dippenaar feels Rudolph could even be moved down the order to slot in at No.5 and prove himself. "I will bat anywhere from one to six," Rudolph said. "I just want a foot in the door again."

Dippenaar has some insights into what the coaching staff may be thinking, having served on the six-man panel that interviewed applicants earlier this year. Gary Kirsten was given the job in June and chose Russell Domingo and Allan Donald as his assistant and bowling coach respectively.

According to Dippenaar, the selectors would do well to include Ryan McLaren in the Test XI. McLaren had a Man-of-the-Match performance with a century and four wickets for the Knights. Dippenaar said he would be an ideal No. 8, would lengthen the batting line-up and be the third seamer, a role that has been occupied by Lonwabo Tsotsobe. Dippenaar thinks McLaren's all-round abilities will be better for the balance of the side. "His seam bowling is very accurate and he reminds me a bit of the great Glen McGrath of Australia."

Dippenaar is also in favour of JP Duminy at No. 6 instead of Ashwell Prince. "Not that Ashwell has done anything wrong. But Duminy will be able to bowl as well and that would give South Africa three seamers, a legspinner [in Imran Tahir] and an offspinner. And Duminy can do the job of containing as well."

Hashim Amla, who scored the third double-hundred of his career three days ago, also gave Dippenaar reason to be cheerful. "He is one of those players that never gets tired of batting. I am always very nervous of players like that, particularly when you play against them, because if you don't get them out quickly, you will be spending a long time fielding."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by OhhhhMattyMatty on (October 7, 2011, 22:21 GMT)

Composite Eng & SA side would be: Strauss(c), Cook, Trott, Kallis, Bell, de Villiers, Prior(wk), Bresnan/Broad, Swann, Steyn, Anderson. It is frankly laughable to pick Tsotsobe ahead of Tremlett/Bresnan/Broad and de Villiers/Duminy ahead of Bell in Test cricket. Tsotsobe and ABdV are nowhere near Bell and Tremlett/Brez/Broady in Tests. I'm still laughing now about you picking Tsotsobe! LOL! He can't even get in Essex's 1st XI!!! LOL!

Posted by DaveFish on (October 7, 2011, 12:49 GMT)

Gazza, give the man a chance... Jacques has the metal to do it (ala McKenzie)

Posted by THIMMU on (October 6, 2011, 11:58 GMT)

jacques rudolph always had the talent nd patience.i still remember his debut for sa where he scored a maiden double ton...but something was missing afterwards nd he just failed to convert his scoring ,may be the weight of expectations got to him ..

but in the last one year ,the one name that has always stood out in sa cricket is rudolph... i believe the stint @ yorkshire was a turning point in his carrer nd wen dippennar(who has played with rudolph) says :this player is a totally diff player now .that speaks volumes.....and i hope gary nd co would pick rudolph as soon as possible coz he has the international experience,calm head,nd has the potential to be a regular in all 3 formats....hopefully he will turn out to be the "hussey" of sa cricket... all the best rudolph

Posted by Brucee68 on (October 5, 2011, 11:52 GMT)

Dippenaar did not retire 4 years ago . He played against Rudolph last week ..... Also keep your eyes on AJ Pienaar ...

Posted by Beertjie on (October 5, 2011, 9:50 GMT)

I think de Villiers will just make the team in time for the first test (I hope I'm wrong!). I have to agree with @ Geeva about Rudolph. If Duminy plays, Hauritz/Lyon will get him soon enough (like Swan/Harbajan did) - he's talented (so is Rudolph, but that wasn't enough back then) but needs to iron out a few things before getting back in the team. This bits/pieces cricketer has always been the bane of SA cricket. Why pick a guy just because he may have an extra string to his bow (part-timer/partnership breaker)? Without Harris, Proteas will need a strong top six, so why flirt with danger? Rudolph might make a solid 5/6 - he deserves another shot now. I agree with @MrGarreth about him looking like a superstar, but test cricket sorts the men out from the boys soon enough. That's why making a good start AND maintaining it for a year or two is so vital to a player's career.

Posted by   on (October 5, 2011, 9:27 GMT)

@gzwilliam:i would say bell is in much better form than De Villiers. I would prefer Bresnan over Morkel for his bounce/height/fuller length bowling and batting. Morkel rarely bowls full. the rest I agree with you. Although broad probably tops whatever third seamer SA might choose. So i have it as even stevens. I am not sure Tsotsobe is quite ready as a test bowler yet. I haven't seen enough of the deliveries that straighten into the right hander.

Posted by Geeva on (October 5, 2011, 7:07 GMT)

my SA 11 tofaceAus :1.Smith.2.Petersen.3.Amla.4.Kallis.5.Prince.6.Rudolph/McClaren7.Boucher.8.Steyn.9Tsotsobe.10.Morkel.11.Tahir

Posted by No_Excuses on (October 5, 2011, 7:07 GMT)

Interesting analogy with Mike Hussey who was Rudolph's age when he first got picked for Australia. It would be a good result for SA if he could produce Hussey's numbers over the next six years (5,000 Test runs at 52).

Posted by Geeva on (October 5, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

I seriously hope they don go back to JP Duminy for test cricket overated player buckled under pressure at WC !!JHe need to go play first class cricket!!Ashwell price may not be the best but he performs and his record is better than Duminy!!Surely there are other better batsman the JP Duminy that SA can use in Test Cricket!!England bowlers will be smiling if they see Duminy at 6(jus like they tormentd Raina).Best of luck to Rudolph hope he gabs the oppurtunity

Posted by   on (October 5, 2011, 6:05 GMT)

"Both their international careers simmered without ever exploding and although Dippenaar, at 34-years-old, is unlikely to stake a claim for a national place again, he believes Rudolph will."

Dippenaar RETIRED 4 years ago! who researches these articles?

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