Phangiso ready to play a bigger role

The Proteas have always been a side that seems to rely on their pace attack to get the job done.

One could argue that fact especially when it comes to Test and One Day International cricket but perhaps less so in the game’s shortest format. But that could change during the upcoming triangular series against the West Indies and Australia.

The squad for the Caribbean tour includes three spinners with incumbent Imran Tahir, under study Aaron Phangiso and Tabraiz Shamsi all picked. The difference in this series is that Phangiso may play more of a role as opposed to watching from backstage.

One only has to look at the numbers to realise that Phangiso has always had to play second fiddle in the Proteas setup having only played 16 limited overs matches since his debut against New Zealand in 2013.

The telling statistic comes when you realise that in the period between the left-armer’s debut and the team’s departure earlier in the week that the Proteas have played 75 One Day Internationals with games at major ICC events also included in that number.

“The fact that Russell (Domingo) and the selectors chose to go with three spinners means there’s a chance of two spinners always playing,” the 32-year-old, excited about the prospect of a run of appearances, said.

“It’s hard to play with someone like Imran, because he’s so good; he does so well. For me to get a chance on other tours was hard because he performed very well. We almost went with the mentality of one spinner and backing the seamers. But this tour will maybe be different,” the man with a miserly 4.56 economy rate in limited overs internationals added.

“That means there will probably be an opportunity for two spinners to play most of the time. The conditions will allow that. I’m hoping to put in some good performances and to get some consistency.”

Phangiso was also part of a South African contingent of tweakers and batsmen sent to India for a spin camp and he admits that one of the key lessons he took from that experience was to add pressure on opposition batsmen.

“There was a lot to learn, but what I got out of it was that my mentality shifted from defensive to being more attacking.”

The Proteas will begin the series with a match against the West Indies on June 3.

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