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Warriors’ Captain JJ Smuts hopes for Proteas recognition following Momentum One-Day Cup

BY MARC JACOBSON - APRIL 5, 2017
Warriors’ Captain JJ Smuts hopes for Proteas recognition following Momentum One-Day Cup

At the conclusion of the Momentum One-Day Cup Final in Centurion last Friday, of which the Warriors were obliterated by the Titans, Warriors’ Captain JJ Smuts is regardless still hopeful to get some much-anticipated Proteas’ recognition.

This specifically comes in the light of the ICC Champions Trophy held in England and Wales in June this year. Regardless of their softening fallout in the Final, Smuts remains buoyant after ending second on the ranks of the most runs scored throughout the Momentum One-Day Cup, after Henry David’s 673 with a total 581 runs scored himself, at an average of 52.81.

His highest score throughout the campaign was 173 not out against the Cape Cobras just under a month ago. This was resultantly also the second highest of the tournament, after Aidan Markram’s 183 against the Lions.

With the ball, Smuts has also delivered profoundly with a total 14 wickets (two behind the highest), with an average of 28.50 and also being one of the more economical bowlers in the competition with a rate of 4.91. With these stats backing him, Smuts was the overall pick of the all-rounders in the competition.

The Warriors’ Captain did make his debut for the Proteas in the T20 format, when South Africa played their incoming T20 Series against Sri Lanka in January, but plans to ascertain a possible place in the one-day side moving forward.

“It would be nice to get recognition; I also performed well in the white ball competition this year, so hopefully I can get some recognition. But that’s not in my control, that’s the selector’s job,” Smuts told SA Cricket Magazine.

Smuts lead the Warriors to both the T20 Challenge and the One-Day Cup Finals, and also both against the Titans in Centurion. Aside from getting slandered in the one-day Final, the Port Elizabeth-based side took it close in the T20 Final in January.

With this in mind, ending in the top two in both limited overs’ formats remains a fine prospect for the side; which Smuts described as still being in the developmental phases.

“Over the last two years we’ve been building a squad, and it just so happened that this season we had a lot of people putting their hands up, with special performances from a lot more players,” said Smuts.

“We can only get better from here. We still a young squad and there’s space for a lot of growth, so hopefully we can win a trophy next season,” he added.

Smuts then also took time to commend other players in his side who also put their hands up throughout the season.

“Colin Ackermann won the MVP [Most Valuable Player], which shows the good season he had. Colin Ingram has done really well again. For him, it’s like a quiet season, but he was still near the top again. Andrew Birch, Sisanda Magala, Basheer Walters and Christiaan Jonker [injured in the One Day Cup] were all solid,” Smuts added.

Image: JJ Smuts.