Rudolph braced for hosts' reaction on Headingley return

 

If Jacques Rudolph is worried about lack of match practice before the second Test, there is considerable compensation. He is returning to the ground where he spent six seasons after turning his back on South Africa.

Rudolph was one of many in the tourists' XI, which is certain to be unchanged for the second Test starting in Leeds tomorrow, who hardly got a game at The Oval. He fielded at point or gully for most of England's two innings, where his most notable contribution was failing to snare a difficult chance offered by Matt Prior in the first innings.

Like all but four of South Africa's players, he was not required to bat as they assembled an infeasible total of 637 for 2. Rudolph, at No 6, spent two days wondering if it was worth donning his pads.

"I think a lot has been said before the series about our lack of cricket but we came with clear heads," he said yesterday. "England are the No 1 team in the world and we expect a strong fightback. They've done really well in their own conditions so we're prepared for what we'll face. It's a little bit more difficult because we're used to playing back-to-back Test matches. But we've now got nine or 10 days between.

"Gary Kirsten, our coach, is quite aware of that and has allowed us to take off days between practice. I find the intensity isn't there in the warm-up games as they are not as competitive as a Test."

Rudolph returned to South Africa's team last November after more than five years away from Test cricket. He pitched up at Yorkshire plighting his troth forever as a Kolpak player having fallen out with his homeland and their cricket. After six summers, to the surprise of nobody who doubted his original intentions, he left the county and headed for home.

"At the time when I came over here I was in a tough place and needed to rediscover my love of the game," he said. "Yorkshire gave me the opportunity and in hindsight I must say it's possibly some of the memorable years in my career so far. I got thrown into international cricket at a young age and it was nice to be in such surroundings and I became more mature as a batsman.

"I wasn't too sure what my future would hold with South African cricket. My wife qualified as a doctor over here and after three or four years we just decided to go back. The natural progression was I fortunately scored runs and here I am today."

His experiences at the ground can only help his rampant colleagues assimilate, though he reminded everyone that Headingley's reputation as a bowling paradise is sometimes misguided.

"There is a very strong perception that Headingley is a bowler-friendly wicket," said Rudolph. "But when the sun's out it's a very nice place to bat. I know there's a bit of weather about but once you're in you can get used to swing and seam movement." He has to get to the crease first.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project