Cool and collected Phehlukwayo takes it in his stride

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 30: MBER 30: Andile Phehlukwayo of the Proteas celebrates the wicket of Steven Smith of Australia during the 1st Momentum ODI Series match between South Africa and Australia at SuperSport Park on September 30, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 30: MBER 30: Andile Phehlukwayo of the Proteas celebrates the wicket of Steven Smith of Australia during the 1st Momentum ODI Series match between South Africa and Australia at SuperSport Park on September 30, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

STANDARD BANK PROTEAS all-rounder, Andile Phehlukwayo’s calm resolve under pressure has been a key trait in his success in the current Momentum One-Day International (ODI) series against Australia.

The 20-year-old bounced back from a 16-run opening over to claim impressive figures of 4/44 in the six-wicket victory at SuperSport Park on Friday, in only his second appearance in the green and gold.

“I think in situations like that I try to calm myself down a lot,” he said of the pressure. “Generally, I am a chilled guy so it comes through in my personality. I don’t really get tense that often in situations like that so it’s probably a personal trait of mine.

“A lot was going through my head,” he said of his thoughts after his opening over. “A lot about how I was going to bring it back and what I needed to do. Most importantly I was thinking about what I did at practice and what worked for me before the game. I thought about my preparation and what I did right in the Ireland game.”

His first international wicket, that of Aaron Finch who was caught at short fine leg, gave him the confidence boost to trust his game plans and skills, along with the backing from captain Faf du Plessis and the rest of his Proteas team mates.

“They were both coming at me,” he said of the Australian batsmen. “I have been in situations before where the batters are more attacking and aggressive. Those situations are something that I have been through before so I knew what I had to do. My lengths weren’t good enough in the beginning so I had to adjust and I think I did fairly well to adjust in those circumstances.”

His career has moved at a fast pace following a breakthrough season with the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in 2015, a stint at the CSA Powerade National Academy earlier this year, and consistent performances for South Africa A this off season. He hopes to take the confidence and momentum into the second ODI at the Wanderers on Sunday, where he will rely on his past experiences and learnings.

“I’m in a good space at the moment,” he said. “The guys have been positive and have backed me, it’s been welcoming, it’s been great being in the setup that I am in at the moment. Going into the next game I have some confidence, I will need to back myself more going forward.

“It’s been really quick,” he said of his development. “I think I have learnt a lot from that. I think going forward I need to take the experiences from the games that I do play in and use it for the upcoming matches. I have taken a lot of confidence from those performances, I know that I can challenge people at this level and I can have positive performances and contribute to the team.”