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09 November 2016 - Dwaine Pretorius called up to Proteas Test Squad

Article source: Sport24

Dwaine Pretorius has been knocking on the Proteas' door for what seems like an eternity, and he is finally being heard.

It has been a whirlwind couple of months for the 27-year-old all-rounder, who was called up to a Proteas squad for the first time in September ahead of a one-off ODI against Ireland.

An injury to Chris Morris then meant that Pretorius was kept on for the five-match ODI series against the Aussies, and he now has three international caps to his name in that format.  

He took just two wickets over those matches and missed out on a fantastic opportunity to win the game against the Aussies in Durban when David Miller (118*) was so sublime. Pretorius was out for 15 that day before Andile Phehlukwayo's 42* got the job done.

Still, Pretorius's international career is up and running, and it has taken another major step forward in the form of a call-up to the Proteas Test squad currently in Australia.

Pretorius is the replacement for the injured Dale Steyn, and he will be jetting off to Hobart as soon as his visa is approved.

Following his stint in the ODI side, Pretorius was told by the national selectors that he was "in the plans" and that he should focus on performing at domestic level. So, he went back to the Lions where he has put in some seriously good displays in the Sunfoil Series.

In the three matches he has played so far this campaign, Pretorius has scored a 50 in four of his five innings for a total of 364 runs at an average of 72.8. He has also taken 9 wickets at 34.88.

It has been enough to catch the attention of convenor of selectors Linda Zondi, and now a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity awaits.

"I nearly fainted when I saw Linda Zondi's name on my phone," Pretorius told Sport24 on Tuesday.

"You always have that hope in the back of your mind that you might get the call but I honestly thought they might not take anyone over and just back the squad they have there.

"We were in Potch (the Lions were playing the Titans) and my wife and I just went out for supper. My phone was lying on the table and it started ringing. I paused for about a minute before I answered. It was very nerve-wracking."

Pretorius said back in September ahead of his ODI call-up that his batting at domestic level was something he needed to improve significantly if he wanted to put his hand up for the Proteas. He has done just that so far this season and the added responsibility of moving up the batting order to No 6, he says, has been good for him.

"I've taken that on and told myself to have solid game-plans. I'm not just attacking the bowlers but I have a clear game-plans of how I want to approach my innings," Pretorius said.

"I'm fortunate that at the moment I'm in good form. I've been working hard and hopefully the good form can continue."

Of course, there is a good chance that Pretorius will not play in Australia. It is hard to see South Africa making any unnecessary changes to their side for the second Test that starts on Saturday and the only forced change is likely to see Steyn replaced by either Morne Morkel or Kyle Abbott.

"At the end of the day as a player you can't do anything about selection. You can only do your best and have a good attitude about the whole thing," Pretorius said.

"Just to be a part of that whole environment will be great. If I play it will be great and if I don't play then I'm still there experiencing what the other guys are experiencing and I'll just try and contribute to the team wherever I can."

It is a tour that, for Pretorius, is the ultimate in cricket. "I actually spoke to my dad-in-law yesterday and I told him that this is probably as big as it gets, apart from maybe World Cups," he said.

"As far as Test cricket is concerned I think it's probably the biggest tour to go on. I think it's massive. It's a dream that I'm going to be a part of it.

"I'm just looking forward to seeing what it's all about. I can't explain to you how excited I am."

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