CAPE TOWN. – Perhaps a cautionary note or two would suffice to those doubters and detractors who have written Stiaan van Zyl’s epitaph as a South African opener: Van Zyl requires only 10 runs to complete 7000 runs in first-class cricket, and he has done it at an average of 44.80. He has done it mostly while batting at number three, and often came to the crease when the first wicket fell after only one or two ovrs.

A few months ago when South Africa A toured India, he was at the summit of the list of South Africa A batting averages with 57.33, comfortably better than Omphile Ramela and Quinton de Kock in second and third place.

Van Zyl was dropped for the fourth test in the recent series in India after a string of low scores. But his name was re-inserted for the first two tests of the series against England.

“Yes, I was disappointed to be dropped. The pitches were under prepared if you compare them to the wickets on which we played when South Africa A and India A did battle,” he said.

“I am working on a few small technical things, but my ultimate goal is to do very well for the Cape Cobras in their first match against the VKB Knights. I will probably open with Andrew Puttick.

“It is great to be reunited with my old pals and I am looking forward to the Sunfoil Series.

“I don’t plan on tinkering too much with my technique. It has served me well through the years,” he said.

In 113 matches, he has scored 6990 runs at an average of 44.80.

“If there are major weaknesses that I detect in my technique, I will address them,” he said.

“I just thought the Indian bowlers outperformed us in the series.”

Don Bradman, arguably the greatest batsman of all time, once said: “There is no crisis, just the next run.”

Van Zyl feels similarly. He says he has done well for South Africa A and the Cape Cobras, and scored a best of 107 in a Sunfoil Series match for the hosts against the Sunfoil Dolphins at PPC Newlands last season. What he needs now, is a composed spirit and thee figures on the scorecard to re-emphasize his ability as one of South Africa’s premier opening batsman.

“I believe in keeping things simple and making good starts count,” he added.