SA A v India A, 2nd unofficial Test, Pretoria, 4th day August 27, 2013

Hendricks steps up to next level


The South African think-tank's main concern is that up and coming bowlers are not learning how to take wickets on surfaces which require some back-bending, but Beuran Hendricks proved that is not always the case. The 23-year-old left-armer produced a match-winning 11-wicket haul against India A in Pretoria to ensure South Africa A levelled the two-match unofficial Test series and enhanced his own reputation ahead of the summer.

Hendricks was the joint-highest wicket-taker in the series along with Ishwar Pandey. His 11 wickets came at an average of 5.72, to take his winter tally to 17. He also claimed a five-for against Australia A earlier this month to end that series with six scalps, one behind Marchant de Lange.

After last season, in which Hendricks was the fifth-highest wicket-taker in the first-class competition with 35 wickets at 17.74, the signs are promising; he is steadily improving and readying himself for national honours. "The biggest change for me this winter was learning how to step-up to the next level," he told ESPNcricinfo. "It was all about adapting to the conditions and I was able to do that."

Hendricks' confidence is justified. South Africa's winter pitches are notoriously flat and offer little to the bowlers. Even though India A lost five for 18 on the fourth morning and a further five for seven later on, Paul Adams, Hendrick's coach at the Cobras, who was at the game, said the bowlers were challenged on a fairly unresponsive surface and Hendricks was one of the few who could make something happen. "He has a knack of being able to make something happen and he did that," Adams said.

Unlike his Cobras team-mate and mentor Vernon Philander, Hendricks relies on different skills. "He has got real pace, in the 140s, a lot of the time, and a fantastic ability to swing the ball," Adams said. "He also has the maturity to trust his instincts and said he was not tempted to bang it in too short to the India A batsmen but tried to 'concentrate on hitting the lengths'."

Bowling slightly fuller than usual and with generous inswing to the right-handers, he sliced through India A's top order and then returned to clean up the rest. "We had to be a lot more patient than we were in the first match in Rustenburg but that's what we did," he said. Hendricks was impressed with India's line-up and expects them to "put on a good show" when some of them return later in the summer.

He is unlikely to be part of the pack that bowls to them but will be honing his skills to do so in future. Adams said the upcoming season will be a "big test" for Hendricks, who will have "batsmen looking out for him". Adams believes Hendricks will have "gained valuable insight" from his time with the A squad and will return to the domestic circuit "realising what he has to do" to catch the national selectors' eyes.

Adams is also looking forward to Hendricks leading the attack for the Cobras. "Last season, he really grew when he played alongside Johann Louw and Charl Langeveldt and now he has a nice base from which to build." Having stayed injury-free thus far and with a real hunger, Hendricks will be one to watch in the future.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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  • Fanele on August 28, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    And yes Hendricks is great and a real asset for SA's future or even in december but for me the real person who impressed me most is Simon Harmer,I mean him and parnell saved us in the 1st innings and then did it with his offies....I think he must replace Robbie P

  • Ashok on August 28, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    @Sir_Ivor: Hendricks appears to be around 6 ft. tall. But his real asset is he is bowling at 140 KPH+ swinging the ball at awkward length which makes the batsmen play. Nearest Indian bowler for comparison is B.Kumar but Hendricks is 5-10 KPH faster. Pujara & Rahane both played him well in the first innings as did Saha in the second innings. The rest of the Indian batsmen were not in the same class. Hopefully, Dhawan & Kohli will be able to deal with him at the top of our batting order along with Pujara & Rahane (if selected in XI). Rohit Sharma has to tighten up his defence as an opener to play such bowlers on SA pitches. I personally feel India has good batsmen to cope with Hendricks (above 5), Steyn & Morkel + Philander. Rayudu, Karthik & Vijay were all at sea + India A tail is really the "Tail", unlike SA A tail which won the Test for them. With Dhoni, Jadeja & Ashwin in the lower Indian batting order, I feel Indian batting is good up to # 8 + actual tail.

  • Garreth on August 28, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    @SirIvor he is round about Dale Steyn's height, maybe a little taller. Not very tall but tall enough with the swing he gets.

  • Subramani on August 28, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    Hendrhis man could be icks looks a new great fast bowler in the making. Thire last great left arm bowler was Brett Schultz. This man could give the selectors the smugness when India comes along. Would someone tell me how tall he is ?

  • Gordon on August 28, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Good stuff Hendricks. Keep up the good work and no doubt will you get rewarded at some stage.

  • Nix on August 28, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    As a South African and hailing from the Western Cape, I have seen Hendricks bowl in last years domestic competition and was impressed. Not to criticize or to talk bad of anyone, but I really don't see how Rory Kleinveldt fits into SA Cricket's future. If you look at Hendricks and other players like Parnell for example (people can say about Parnell what they want but for me he will outbowl Kleinveld 9 out of 10 times) surely Kleinveldt's time is over. He is old , over weight, and has not shown that he is capable of anything special.

  • Naresh on August 28, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    @AA77 - have not seen this guy bowl, but imagine that he must be more like Mitchell Johnson - awkward looking leftie.

  • A on August 27, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    It is indeed a headache for selectors - hendricks arguably has the advantage of being a lefty which would be a great addition to the existing sa test bowlers. Bowling controlled full inswingers at pace to the right handers is an awesome skill - I.e. like mitchell johnson at his devastating best. He must be a better prospect than abbott or de lange, but may need another season to skill-up.

  • Ashok on August 27, 2013, 18:39 GMT

    Fine bowling performance by Hendricks sent India crashing to defeat in the 2nd Test. Hendricks was so dominant that except for Rahane & Saha the rest of the India batsmen could register only 5 runs, as the next highest. It was most unfortunate that Pujara fell- runout to the first ball of Day 4. He was the only batsman who could have stood his ground & defied Hendricks. Hendricks may well walk into the test squad vs. India, later this year. Hendricks also eliminated some border line batsmen's chances for inclusion in the India squad later this year. These include Vijay, Karthik & Rayudu. It was a fine show by Hendricks ably supported by Harmer both in batting & bowling. Harmer may also have made it to the SA Test squad. Strangely enough SA without Hendricks were just a shadow of themselves in all their 3 defeats. It shows one exceptionally good bowler can turn doom & gloom to victory cries. Great show of seam bowling, Hendricks!

  • Dummy4 on August 27, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    Must be a headache for the selectors. The next-in-line Abbott was totally overshadowed by Hendricks. I presume the selectors will have him first-in-line because of his 7fer in his only test. Let's hope he will be reassessed based on current form and Hendricks leapfrogs him. The majority of the SA pace attack bowls too short when conditions do not favour that kind of bowling and the fact that Hendricks bowls "slightly fuller" should make him an asset in the test side.

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