South Africa's Andile Phehlukwayo sees COVID-19 shutdown as a chance to prolong the career

South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo feels that the COVID-19-enforced break from the game has provided him with a perfect opportunity to work on his body which will help him prolong his career.

The coronavirus pandemic shredded the sporting calendar into pieces with all sporting activities canceled.

South Africa was forced to call off their tour of India midway in March. Since then the Proteas haven't set foot on the cricket field.

"One of my biggest motivations is to try and get better and stronger," Phehlukwayo told Sport24.

"If I can get 10 percent or five percent better, it'll go a long way and it'll also prolong my career. This lockdown has been the perfect opportunity to work on myself, to work on my fitness and on things outside of cricket," he added.

The 24-year-old hasn't featured in the Proteas red-ball side since January 2018.

He was replaced by Dwaine Pretorius after just four games. However, Phehlukwayo, who is focussed on white-ball cricket, is still hopeful of making a comeback to the Test side.

"I predominantly play white-ball cricket and there's the T20 World Cup coming up, so I've been mainly focussed on trying to perform in the white-ball teams and to be consistent," said Phehlukwayo.

"The Test team is definitely space where I want to be. I want to challenge myself, I want to compete in that space for as long as possible or for long as the team needs me.

"I want to make an impact in the Test arena. It's the biggest and hardest place to play. For any cricketer, if you're playing Test cricket, it's the ultimate game. I have four Test matches. If I could possibly go to 100, that'll be nice," he added.

Regarded as a bowling all-rounder, Phehlukwayo feels he will be able to shine with the bat with experience.

"Personally, I feel like I am a genuine all-rounder. I probably need to give myself a better opportunity with the bat at times, but that also comes with age," he said.

"As a young cricketer coming in, your bowling always outshines your batting, and the older you get you'll see the batting starting to pick up," he added.

Looking back at the first four years of his career, Phehlukwayo is grateful for what he has achieved but admits he is a work in progress.

"We're not perfect as cricketers and just to be blessed with over 50 games for my country at this age is fantastic. I need to look at that and be grateful," he said.

"Yes, there are a lot of things that I can work on and am still working on, but I also need to allow for time to take its place and not rush things," he added.

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