It’s been a long build-up, but Keegan Petersen’s wait for a Test debut is drawing to a close.
The batsman from Paarl has been called up to the squad three times before his inclusion to the group currently in the West Indies.
Twice, he was an unused extra and the third time he got Covid-19.
This time, hopefully, his luck changes.
The 27-year-old has been earmarked as the new No.3 in the line-up, confirmed by skipper Dean Elgar this week.
And those are some big boots to fill – think Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla and the brave Faf du Plessis, who made huge runs coming in after the first wicket fell.
It’s a crucial position, with it basically being a third opener in some cases.
You have to be patient sometimes, other times you want to transfer the pressure to the bowling side.
Maturity is key. And with Petersen having had to bide his time in the squad and over the 10 years of his First-Class career, patience and maturity should be a given.
Still the nerves will definitely be playing its part.
Perhaps then it’s a blessing in disguise that he makes his debut out in the Caribbean.
The island vibes might just be the right setting for him to find himself.
So many players have tapped into the Calypso energy and scored big.
Obviously, you can think of homeboys like Viv Richards, Richie Richardson, Brian Lara and Chris Gayle. But South
Africans have had their moments too there.
Andrew Hudson scored a ton on debut back in 1992, amassing 163 against an attack of Curtly Ambrose hulle.
And then there was Hershelle Gibbs’ six sixes off an over at the 2007 World Cup.
So there is something there for the manne for Mzansi. Petersen will do well to follow in their footsteps.
But like Hudson and Gibbs, he shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the situation.
This Proteas side is still a work in progress and a couple of missteps might not cost him too much.
Again patience will be crucial to get over any growing pains for the new man.
He’s not the only one, though, with KZN teammates Sarel Erwee and Prenelan Subrayen joining him on tour.
The trio have come off a brilliant four-day series campaign.
And with skipper Keshav Maharaj to guide them, they should get up to speed.