Piedt, along with seven other bowlers and six batsmen including Cape Cobras teammates Stiaan van Zyl and Dane Vilas, will travel to the subcontinent for Cricket South Africa’s annual spin camp alongside mentors Claude Henderson (Proteas spin bowling coach) and HD Ackerman (CSA batting consultant).
“I don’t want to stagnate as a spin bowler … as a cricketer,” Piedt told Independent Media yesterday. “I’ve been to India a lot recently, last year’s SA ‘A’ tour, and also the Test series with the Proteas where I played in the final Test, but I never want to stop learning. If there is an opportunity for me to gain knowledge, I’ll be first in the queue.
“I’m a massive fan of India. The people eat, breathe, sleep cricket and to be a part of that culture is magnificent for any cricketer. You just get caught up in the environment and if there’s a chance you can learn something from anyone, it’s there. It’s like a cricket university.”
Upon returning from India, Piedt pushed out rival off-spinner Simon Harmer, who will also be attending the Mumbai camp, to play as South Africa’s sole specialist spinner in three of the four Tests during the home series against England. The only Test Piedt missed out on was the third rubber of the series at the Wanderers when the selectors handed Highveld Lions seamer Hardus Viljoen a Test debut in an all-pace attack.
Piedt claimed his maiden “five-for” in the first Test at Kingsmead and although he came in for punishment alongside all South Africa’s bowlers during Ben Stokes’ explosive 258 in the following Test at Newlands, the 26-year-old showed enough potential in the remaining Tests to suggest he will be South Africa’s No 1 spinner again in August when New Zealand visit these shores for a two-match Test series.
“I don’t have any control over whether I will be selected or not. Those are not matters I concern myself with. My job is to prepare well and to take wickets. That’s the expectation I have of myself and that people now have of me. I am in the business of taking wickets,” Piedt said.
“I just want to do well and contribute to the team’s success and help the Proteas move up the Test rankings again. If that means I am carrying drinks to Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Kyle Abbott, then I’ll do that to the best of my ability.”
It may be a “spinners camp”, but Piedt knows it is also another opportunity to improve his batting. After his maiden season of Test cricket was completed early during last summer, Piedt realised he had to contribute with the bat more consistently too if he wanted to remain ahead of the chasing pack.
He proceeded to rope in Cape Cobras assistant coach Salieg Nackerdien’s assistance during the latter stages of the Sunfoil Series competition with Nackerdien spending hours throwing balls at Piedt in the Newlands nets after regular training. Piedt also requested more batting responsibility at his franchise and was handed the No 7 position. The extra work begun reaping rewards towards the latter stage of the season when Piedt shared a 132-run partnership with Dane Vilas for the seventh wicket against the Knights in Bloemfontein, while he also batted for an hour with last man Dane Paterson to almost take the Cobras home against the Titans.
“I’ve always believed that I could bat. I just needed the right mental attitude towards my batting. Helping Quinny (de Kock) to his Test ton at Centurion made me realise I had a job to do. It was not only about scoring runs which is important, but also about occupying the crease and putting a price on my wicket,” Piedt said.
“Salieg Nackerdien at the Cobras has been fantastic in helping me with the little technical things and getting me in the right frame of mind. I am always going to battle, and fight it out until the death, so if I can equip myself to add a few runs at the same time, then it can only be beneficial for any team I play in.”
PLAYERS TO ATTEND MUMBAI SPIN CAMP 14-21 MAY
Bowlers: Bjorn Fortuin, Simon Harmer, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Tshepo Ntuli, Aaron Phangiso, Dane Piedt, Prenelan Subrayen.
Batsmen: Temba Bavuma, Reeza Hendricks, Smangaliso Nhlebela, Hector Ngobeni, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas.
Independent MediaOne would think that a spinner who claimed four wickets the first time he bowled on Indian soil in a Test match would not need to attend a “spinning camp”, but Dane Piedt cannot wait.
Original source: Piedt excited about going to "cricket's university"