Van Tonder optimistic about coming season

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Raynard van Tonder after scoring 165 runs against the Dolphins at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The former South Africa U19 cricket captain, Raynard van Tonder, has fired a warning shot to the other franchises ahead of the 2020/21 domestic cricket season.

Van Tonder has been a stalwart with the bat for the VKB Knights over the past two seasons and his good and consistent play in the four-day series in particular has seen him being included in the 44-man national training squad.

‘Razor’, as he is known by his teammates, is one of four Knights in the squad along with Gerald Coetzee, Pite van Biljon and Shaun von Berg.

Van Tonder told Bloemfontein Courant that it is his ambition to represent South Africa at senior level, but added that more Knights could crack the nod.

“It is a massive honour to be a part of the national camp. It goes without saying that I want to represent the Proteas and do well for them, so this is a step in the right direction. It also really excites me to see that there are four Knights players in the camp and hopefully that number will increase in the future.”

First, the Knights players will have to make a name for themselves at domestic level before they can be considered for national honours, and Van Tonder believes that they are a well-balanced squad that will be very competitive.

“We’ve got an unbelievable balance to our squad, with some really good spin options from our own ‘Shane Warne’ in the form of Shaun von Berg. Then we have some really good seam bowlers who are still young, who are talented and have a bright future ahead of them. On the bowling side, I wouldn’t want to be in the other batting teams as we have some really destructive batters who can score some big runs and win games for the team. All-in-all, I am really excited about the upcoming season and the squad. Hopefully we can lift a couple of trophies.”

In 2018, Van Tonder captained the SA U19s at the ICC Cricket World Cup and was one of three South Africans named in the team of the tournament, along with Coetzee and Wandile Makwetu. All three of these players are Knights. – MORGAN PIEK