For someone who has struggled to cement his place in the side in a career of almost a decade, opting out of a Test series under protest, sounds unbelievable in modern cricket. But talking to Charl Langeveldt it does not seem that surprising any more.
He had been a prison warder in his early days and so courage was never going to be a quality wanting but he has an on your face kind of an air about him that's difficult to miss. He does not want to talk about all those now saying "it's history".
The 35-year-old had opted out of South Africa's last series against India in March 2008 after people questioned his selection ahead of Andre Nel as part of the country's transformation policy. And the next month he had signed a contract with Derbyshire as a Kolpak player. The move was seen by many as hindering his chances of a comeback, but the stocky Western Cape man did not care.
“I am here, right?” Langeveldt said after an-hour-and a-half of intense training in the soaking rain with the other one-day specialists at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake campus ground on Wednesday.
The three-match one-day series begins in Jaipur on Sunday and drafted into the side mainly because of his experience, Langeveldt has big boots to fill if he gets a chance in the XI. In the absence of an out of favour Makhaya Ntini following his poor form against England, it is Langeveldt’s experience in bowling in 63 ODIs is something the selectors are banking on.
The South African one-day squad has four other medium-pacers Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell and two more options in allrounders Jacques Kallis and Albie Morkel. So getting into the XI won't be without competition and Langeveldt knows it.
“It is not just about the responsibility of filling in for someone of the stature of Makhaya. International cricket is all about performing under pressure. The conditions here would be challenging but the game is all about challenges. If you are not up to the challenges, you should not play international cricket,” he said.
The right-arm pacer, who came into the international scene with a reputation of being able to swing the ball at good pace, felt a well-disguised slower ball would be key to success in the subcontinent conditions where wickets have hardly anything for the bowlers. He has lost a bit of his pace following a shoulder surgery a couple of years back.
“I am trying a few variations. You have to have the courage to bowl the slower delivery. The trick is disguise. In the subcontinent where batsmen look to hit you every ball especially during the batting powerplays, a good slower ball can do the trick,” Langeveldt, the first SA to take a hattrick, said.
Langeveldt, who is part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad, hoped he would get more opportunities this time. He was picked for just the last match against the Rajasthan Royals in Durban in the last edition where with a super three for 15 he had made a point to the KKR thinktank, which had opted to try out Mashrafe Mortaza, Moises Henriques and Angelo Mathews ahead of him. But even this time, with the KKR signing Shane Bond, who is likely to join the squad a day before KKR’s first match on March 14.