Zulu on the way back

He may not play against New Zealand this Saturday but Lance Klusener has begun the long road back to superstar status, of that there can be little doubt.

The fact that Klusener has been working hard in the nets is almost of little consequence or news value, because he worked his backside off in the West Indies, too, without anything to show for it.

Former Rhodesian Currie Cup batsman Peter Carlstein, who played eight Tests for South Africa and is now resident in Perth, has been working with Klusener in the WACA’s indoor nets out of sight of the rest of the squad and of prying, probing eyes.

While the sessions have undoubtedly been profitable, they may – or may not – have any effect on Klusener’s performances in the middle because great sportsmen invariably have to make sure their head is right before they excel themselves on the field.

As Klusener emerged from his latest ‘secret’ session on Wednesday afternoon, lathered in sweat, he inadvertently walked between two journalists who were passing the time of day under Perth’s baking sun by throwing a tennis ball to each other.

One of them turned towards Klusener and made a gesture indicating he was about to throw the ball to the batsman. A grin appeared on Klusener’s face: “Better not,” he smiled. “You’d probably get me out!”

Just because Klusener is struggling now, no one has said that he is ‘gone’ and won’t be back. But it seems that he may be a lot closer to rediscovering his best form if he has learned to laugh at himself because many a star has failed to shine for a tendency to take themselves too seriously.

Keep smiling Lance. Your country would be dearly grateful to have you back.

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