CAPE TOWN – “I don’t think Ottis Gibson has ever seen Kyle Verreynne play any game of cricket.”
That’s the forthright opinion of Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince.
Verreynne, 21, has enjoyed two stellar seasons of franchise cricket since graduating from the SA Under-19 ranks. The wicket-keeper/batsman has followed up his “Newcomer of the Year” prize received at the 2017-18 CSA Awards with another good year.
He struck 583 runs at average of 44.84 in the 4-Day Series to boost his overall first-class average to 49.65. He then lit up the Mzansi Super League opener at Newlands before continuing his form in the One-Day Cup, where he averages 64.66.
Verreynne’s glovework has also been more than tidy, but has since seen Warriors prodigy Sinethemba Qeshile move ahead of him in the pecking order with the 20-year-old having made his T20I debut this past weekend after just one season of franchise cricket.
Equally, the Proteas have trialled part-time keeper David Miller behind the stumps in a couple of matches this season in regards to preparing a stand-in gloveman for the World Cup later this year.
“He’s (Verreynne) a very competitive and very motivated guy and I’d say playing for the Proteas is very high up on his agenda. Obviously, he’s still young and there’s a lot of time ahead. He has had two very good seasons. I backed him as a second potential wicket-keeper for the World Cup squad,” Prince said.
“I have my reasons for that. I work with him on a daily basis. Regardless of the situation he steps up every time. It is those types of players that I am really impressed by. People who stand up in tough situations.
“He is only slight in figure, but always nearly goes at a 100% strike-rate.
“And the skill there is that he is not a big-hitter who hits boundaries, but he is almost able to score off every ball. I don’t think Ottis Gibson has ever seen Kyle Verreynne play any game of cricket, so that is what goes on in our cricket. It is out of our control, unfortunately.”
Prince believes the former Wynberg Boys’ High gloveman can also be utilised in the longer formats, even with Quinton de Kock in the Test line-up.
“I would say that if I had any influence in the national team, the way they batted in Test cricket, I would move Quinton down to No 4 and give the gloves to Kyle. That’s how much I back him. But that’s my opinion,” Prince said.
“I am saying the way they batted in Test cricket this year with Quinny being not out, trying to smack whatever with the tail towards the back end he is being wasted. He is probably South Africa’s best batsman at the moment. I would do that. Make Quinton No 4 and give Kyle the gloves. He will make 100s at No 7 as well.”
Verreynne will have another opportunity to make a further imprint on the national selectors when the Cobras face the Titans in the One-Day Cup semi-final on Wednesday.