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Duanne Olivier set to return to Proteas for India Test series after selectors come calling

Duanne Olivier of the Lions has destroyed the batting line-ups around the country so far this season. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Duanne Olivier of the Lions has destroyed the batting line-ups around the country so far this season. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Nov 29, 2021

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Johannesburg - Duanne Olivier’s dominance in the domestic Four-Day competition has put him firmly in the picture for an international recall should India tour here later this summer.

Olivier confirmed on Monday that he has availed himself for Proteas selection after chatting to national selection convenor Victor Mpitsang.

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“(The selectors) did speak to me,” Olivier said. “They basically asked me if I am open to play for the Proteas again and I said ‘of course, yes,’ but I can’t select myself, it’s up to them if they want me or not. All I can do is to focus on the present and take it day by day.”

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Olivier has been in outstanding form for the Imperial Lions through the first four rounds of the tournament, claiming 28 wickets at an average of 11.10.

Mpitsang confirmed that he’d spoken with Olivier, adding that he’s been impressed with the 29 year old’s performances this season. “He has dominated. People who dominate, will always be part of our conversations,” Mpitsang said.

While there are concerns about the India tour in the wake of new Omicron Covid variant that was first identified by South African scientists last week, for now Mpitsang and his panel are planning as if the three match Test series will happen. Discussions about the composition of the Proteas Test squad are currently taking place.

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“We made it clear with Parney’s selection that those guys who were on Kolpak contracts but have returned and are willing to play for the Proteas again, will be picked if they are performing well enough,” Mpitsang explained, citing the selection of Wayne Parnell for the Proteas One-Day squad for the now abandoned series with the Netherlands.

“A lot of those guys have come back and really strengthened our system, which has been pleasing to see,” he added.

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Olivier maintained that for now, his focus was purely on performing for the Lions, who have won all four of their opening matches, bowling the opposition out for under 200 in all eight innings’ so far.

“I don’t like to think too far ahead, I don’t get the best out of myself by doing so. I’ve done that in the past - you think ahead that ‘this can happen or that can happen,’ and your focus isn’t 100%, which is where I am at present,” said Olivier.

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He played the last of his 10 Tests against Sri Lanka in 2019, where after he signed a Kolpak contract with Yorkshire. Olivier had expressed an interest in playing for England, given that the Kolpak contract had meant he wouldn’t be able to play for South Africa again, but that has now changed.

Those deals no longer apply following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Olivier has signed with Yorkshire for the next county season as an overseas professional.

“If (selection for the Proteas) happens, it will be a massive honour, but if it doesn’t it's not the end of the world. My focus is to do well for the Lions, to try and win a trophy,” Olivier said.

“I’m a firm believer that everything will happen in the right way that it should happen, and then those things (national selection) will take care of themselves.”

@shockerhess

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