Kyle Verreynne is among only a few batters on South Africa’s first-class scene to sustain a career average of 50 since his debut in 2015, but even with the expectations of numbers behind him, he entered the international stage with doubts about himself. After eight Test innings with an average of 14, that turned into serious problem.
His string of well-timed and placed pulls and cuts were evidence of how Verreynne has modified his approach to playing the ball under his eyes and almost at the last possible second. And he also found the momentum he was known for in local circles – after scoring only two runs off the first 10 balls he faced this morning, he scored 24 off the next 25. His first fifty runs were scored in 98 balls and the second fifty in 61 and his partnerships with Kagiso Rabada, who scored a 34-ball 47, came at a rate of 7.42 to the over.
Playing the ball late matters more to me than footwork – Verreynne
“It’s been quite challenging, mentally. Test cricket is the toughest format of the game and my first couple of series – starting in the West Indies – were on quite challenging wickets,” Verreynne said, after his unbeaten 136 on Monday. “Against India, it was probably the toughest pitches I played on and then coming here, in the first Test, the wicket was also quite tough to bat on. Mentally, you have a lot of doubts about yourself. You read a lot of things people are writing. There were a lot of questions being asked about me technically.”
“When we were in West Indies, I tried to change my technique to adjust to those conditions. When we got back to South Africa, I never went back to how I had been batting before,” he said. “I felt in West Indies, those adjustments were important but I forgot the importance of what worked beforehand. So I made some small things with my trigger movement.”
“Footwork has never been a strong point of mine. It’s more about contact points,” he said. “That’s something I have been working on a lot. Footwork isn’t always the most important thing, it’s more about if I am playing the ball late.”