Kyle Verreynne won’t look like Quinton de Kock, nor necessarily fit the perception of what some people think a test batsman should look like, but the 24-year-old proved in no uncertain terms that he belongs at the highest level as his magnificent girl Proteas Century put South Africa at the head of the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch on Monday.
Verreynne has struggled at Test level, scoring just 112 runs in his first eight innings, but he more than doubled that with his brilliant 136 not out in the second innings at Hagley Oval. Going back to the batsman he was before his rise to Test level, the breakthrough came for the Western Province wicketkeeper/batsman.
“It was mentally challenging and test cricket is the most difficult form,” said Verreynne. “My first three series were on challenging fields, the wickets for the India series were the toughest I’ve ever hit and the first test here was difficult too.
“So you have a lot of doubts and you read what people are writing about your technique and it’s a challenge. It is important to maintain your confidence and support your preparation and what you have done in the past.
“I did quite a bit of work on my technique leading up to this race and I felt in a really good space, it was just about getting mentally okay. I went back to what I’ve been doing for the past few years.
“Footwork has never been a strong point of mine; for me it’s more about my points of contact and being able to play the ball late. Fortunately it worked and hopefully I am now through that difficult phase in my career,” said Verreynne.
Verreynne praised Kagiso Rabada for his savage innings of 47 off 34 balls after lunch on the fourth day, when the rampaging duo saw 69 runs in eight overs.
Not only did their efforts allow South Africa to declare with a 425 lead over the tea, but the momentum was carried out onto the field, as Rabada boomed with the ball sending both New Zealand openers into his first two overs.
“The third night was a difficult period for myself and Wiaan Mulder, the stage of the match was such that we just had to get through it and the first 30 minutes this morning were the same and after that we were able to show more intention.
“KG said he was feeling pretty good and would stay to get my hundred. But then it seemed like he just couldn’t miss the ball and his innings were a big factor in the energy we put into our bowling,” said Verreynne.