Northpine’s Dane Paterson, 27, realised last week that a lifelong dream had finally come true, when he got a call up to the South African T20 cricket squad to take on Sri Lanka in a three-match series which starts tomorrow, Friday January 20, at SuperSport Park, in Centurion, in Pretoria.
Paterson is among six news caps in the 13-man squad selected for the shortest format of the game.
The other five include Titans duo Mangaliso Mosehle and Lungi Ngidi, Warriors opener Jon-Jon Smuts, Knights top-order batsman Theunis de Bruyn and Dolphins all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.
The SA squad will head into the T20 format high on confidence after they beat Sri Lanka 3-0 in the test series. Also, the last time the two sides did battle in the format, South Africa won by eight wickets, at the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup, in India, last year.
Paterson said he was shocked about his selection to the Protea squad but plans to make the most of it.
“I thought it was some kind of joke as I was not expecting it. I must remind myself everyday about the selection because I can’t believe a lifelong dream is finally happening. It is about grabbing the opportunity with both hands, to do well and back my skills,” said the former Brackenfell High School pupil.
Paterson now hopes to gain some necessary experience playing at the highest level and testing himself against good quality players such as Sri lankan captain Angelo Mathews and wicketkeeper/batsman Dinesh Chandimal.
“Sri Lanka are a good team when it comes to limited over format,” he said.
However, before Paterson goes up against Mathews and company, he first had to take care of business in East London.
He took 3/60 in 17 overs to help the Cape Cobras play to a draw against the Warriors in the Sunfoil series four-day competition, as rain had the final say.
Paterson made his debut for the Cobras against the same opponents, in Port Elizabeth, in the 2014/2015 season, in the same format. He took 5/101 but it was not enough as the two sides played to a draw.
Paterson’s best figures for the Cobras in the T20 format is 4/33 against the Knights, helping them win by 33 runs to become the 2014/2015 T20 champions. His best figures in the one-day and four-day formats are 4/23 and 10/62 against the Highveld Lions and Free State for the Cobras and WP, respectively.
“To win the T20 competition and four-day competition in the 2014/2015 season has to be one of my fondest memories playing for the Cobras,” he said.
The former Simonsberg Primary School pupil also represented Western Province at under-13, 17 and 19 level.
He was also part of the WP and South Western District(SWD) sides that took part in the African T20 cup in 2015 and last year, respectively.
The competition was won by Northerns and Eastern Province in 2015 and last year, respectively. The tournament features 13 SA sides, a Zimbabwean development XI, Kenya and Namibia.
Like most cricketers, Paterson started playing cricket in the park and streets of Northpine at a young age.
He also enjoyed playing sports like tennis, rugby and got his Northern Zone colours in athletics.
“If my friends and I saw Wimbledon, the oldest tennis championships, was on television then we would play tennis in the street or play rugby and come home with torn T-shirts. At primary school I was still feeling my way in and just enjoying the game. When I saw the success I was getting in high school that was when I got serious about cricket,” he said.
Like most sportsman, Paterson is laid-back in his spare time, playing golf, and spending time with his family and friends.
Principle of Brackenfell High School, Jannie Muller, said Paterson’s hard work since school level has paid off.
“Dane was an all-round athlete at school. He was great in athletics, rugby and cricket. In class he was a funny guy and liked to make jokes. He is a great role model to upcoming sportsmen and we wish him the best of luck,” he said.