Ashwell Prince had a massive impact in the way I bat, says Proteas hero Kyle Verreynne

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Mar 03, 2022, 04:45

Johannesburg - Kyle Verreynne paid tribute to his former franchise coach, Ashwell Prince for the patience and work he put in with him, that provided the foundation for his elevation to international cricket.


Verreynne made a stunning maiden Test century at critical time in the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch on Monday that put the Proteas on the brink of a series tying win heading into the fifth day.


“To get across the line and make a contribution in this game and for the team is something I’m really proud of,” he said after scoring an unbeaten 136, that saw him spend just under five hours, in which he faced 187 balls and hit 16 fours and a six.

Prince, who played 66 Tests, and coached the then Cape Cobras, has championed Verreynne’s cause for years even going so far as to state that the 26 year old could play in the same side as Quinton de Kock.

“At franchise level ‘Ashy P’ definitely had a massive impact in the way I bat and the way I’ve moulded my game, so obviously I’ve got to give a lot of credit to him,” said Verreynne. “ Firstly there is the belief he had in me and all the opportunities he gave me.”

Following the implementation of ’bio secure environments’ because of Covid and thus the need for bigger squads, Verreynne was called up to the Proteas as back up to De Kock. His domestic record certainly justified his selection, and while an average of over 50 stood out, it was more a case of when he scored his runs that was such a feature of his batting.

In a Cobras unit, that struggled following the departure of David Bedingham to England and Andrew Puttick’s retirement, Verreynne became a mainstay in the batting order and he often dug the side out of trouble. That underlined his mental fortitude, something he’d most definitely have learned from working with Prince.

“He was also really good from a technical point of view but also from an approach point of view and how you go about building and innings - he really helped me a lot. In my professional career he’s the one I worked with the most,” said Verreynne.

Having had a slow start to his Test career, the result of playing on some very tricky pitches in the West Indies and in South Africa against India earlier this season, Verreynne’s early Test performances with the bat were modest.

He admitted on Monday to making some technical adjustments that he felt was necessary for the Caribbean conditions, but then didn’t revert back to his old method for the India series. He scored 18 and 30 in the first Test in Christchurch where South Africa was blown away for 95 and 111, and then was dismissed in a soft manner - nicking off to Matt Henry for four in the first innings of the current match.

“Mentally you have a lot of doubts about yourself, and if you read what people have to say, there are a lot of questions being asked of myself. It was quite challenging.”

He’ll hope that his second innings performance - that included surviving a difficult spell from Neil Wagner on Sunday evening - will be a boost for his Test career. “Fortunately today went according to plan.The tough period I’ve had at the start of my career, it's been important just to go through that phase and hopefully I’m out of that now.”

 
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