For Khaya Zondo the tour to India is a chance to prove his mettle and ability to adapt to the rigours of international cricket.
On the back of a successful tour with the South Africa A side to the sub-continent in August, the 25-year-old cracked the nod for inclusion in the Proteas T20 squad in place of the injured Rilee Rossouw.
The batsman and the rest of the squad fly out of Johannesburg today for the first part of the 72-day trip to India. The side will play a warm-up game on Tuesday before the first of three T20 internationals takes place in Dharmsala next Friday.
“Obviously I was happy. It was just about taking it in, letting it sink in and then realising what I now need to go do,” Zondo told Saturday Citizen yesterday of his call-up to the national side before adding that he was eager to learn.
“I want to go there and learn. Learn from everyone be it a senior player who one of the newer guys. I’m feeling good. I’ve been playing throughout the pre-season so I’m not short of match fitness,” Zondo, who featured for KZN Inland side in the Africa T20 Cup last weekend, said.
“I’ve been batting well and now it’s just to go about my business.”
He’s hopeful of being given an opportunity to earn his debut and admitted that he’d be ready if and when the time comes.
“You’re always hopeful that you get an opportunity and when you go on tour anything can happen. India is a tough place to tour conditions wise and if I do get the chance then it’s about playing well and using the opportunity,” the man who averages 24.38 with a strike rate of 108.19 in T20 cricket said.
The first part of the tour – that also features five one day internationals and four Test matches – will form part of the preparations for next year’s T20 World Cup in March but Zondo admitted that he isn’t thinking too far ahead.
“One ball at a time,” the right-handed batsman who turns out for the Dolphins at franchise level said.
‘You can’t play the World Cup now. You never know what might happen in the next six months. There are a lot of things that you can’t control so for now it’s one step at a time,” he said.