“My goal for the new season is to get back into the national set-up and once I am there, obviously become a mainstay in it and win games for the Proteas, “said a bubbly Khaya Zondo.

Speaking to the Sporting Detail, Zondo said his goal for the 2019/20 season is to ensure that he gets back into the national set-up, prove that he is capable of playing international cricket and most importantly win games for the Proteas.

“It will just be a matter of raising my intensity and bar wherever I play, whatever level it will be, I just need to grow every single time I have got a bat in my hand and ensure that the national selectors will have the confidence in me to call me back again and believe that I can win games at international level. I will just have to get a lot more of the man of the matches at Franchise cricket, “said Zondo.

Back in 2015, Dolphins captain Khaya Zondo came close to realising his dream of wearing the green and gold when the Proteas toured India but to the surprise of many, he returned with no caps as when the opportunity for him to make his debut presented itself, he was overlooked. JP Duminy sustained a hand injury, instead of handing Zondo his first cap as he was the reserve batsman, the selectors flew in Dean Elgar, who hadn’t been in the ODI squad in the first place.

The 29-year-old was in great form when he was called up to the national side, having played well for South Africa A side and Dolphins but fell away and runs dried up after he was snubbed for the last two ODI’s in 2015 in India and after the ‘waterboys must fall’ public appeal. Zondo admitted that he was close to quitting cricket.

Fast-forward to 2018, Zondo made his long-overdue ODI debut when the Proteas played against India in Centurion. The Durban born star in his first game in Proteas colours top-scored with 25 of 45 balls. His third match for the Proteas, Zondo scored a well-constructed half-century (54) in difficult conditions against a strong Indian side. With the Proteas in the rebuilding stage, Zondo has a chance to prove his worth and fight for a space in the misfiring Proteas middle order. In his five ODI matches, Zondo averages 35.50 with 142 runs and a high score of 54. In all his matches he managed to get starts.

The 2019/20 season recently started and the former South Africa A captain wants his side to see some improvements from his young Dolphins side. “A lot of planning was done, is only a matter of implementing it and ensuring that the guys are ready for the new season, skill-wise, physically and mentally but definitely we have all the players that are needed for that, on my side as a leader it is a matter of being smart to ensure that we can win games against all the other teams.”

According to Zondo, the Dolphins this season are gunning for One Day Cup title. “I definitely think that we should reach the final of the One Day Cup and win the trophy, we don’t want to share it, we also don’t want to be in the final and then it slips our grasp, we want to win that trophy; it has been teasing us for a while now.”

In the 4-Day Series, Zondo is well aware that his side is full of youngsters who are still new to franchise cricket. “A lot changing were made in our team, the outlook of the team changed, a lot of new youngsters came in and they were very impressive last year. I think this year we will be expecting the team to gel a little bit more in 4-Day cricket and start producing better results. “

“On my side as the captain that’s what I will be expecting from the team, to do our best to win both trophies but we must also understand that our 4-Day team was changing last year and the guys only have one season experience at franchise level but in saying that they showed a lot of promise in last season, so we are going to push them to give us better results and also the senior players to give better results so that we can win more games, “ concluded Zondo

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