The stylish left-handed opener is likely to move up the order and join Dean Elgar in facing the chin music of Shahadat Hossain and Soumya Sarkar in the first test starting on 21st July.
Van Zyl’s first introduction to cricket for Boland Agricultural was a first-change fast bowler, with his batting at number four only being his second string.
His superb batting for the Boland u.19-team and the South African u.19-team caught the attention of Shukri Conrad, the Cape Cobras coach, and Van Zyl produced 554 runs in the SuperSport Series in 2007/2008 in his debut season at franchise-level.
One of the major improvements he made the past seven seasons was adding a few attacking strokes to his repertoire and increasing his strike-rate from mid-thirties to the sixties, said Van Zyl.
He also became more attack-minded against the slow bowlers.
“When I started, I may have been content if I struck a 70 or 80. Yet, I have adjusted and learned to press the reset-button and score a big century. It is almost like starting from scratch and pushing on towards 150,” he added.
Van Zyl said he realizes opening the batting presents an opportunity to fill the only vacancy in a strong South African line-up, and would like to start the innings.
“Obviously I’ll bat anywhere I’m needed as it is an honour to represent the country.”
Van Zyl added he is not changing his basic batting-DNA and method of compiling runs, which has produced 6695 runs in 106 first-class games at an average of 45.54.
There is little difference between batting at number three and opening the batting. It is about starting at a sedate rate, and batting time before accelerating.
Van Zyl is not known as a batting enforcer a la Virender Sehwag or Matthew Hayden (one of his childhood heroes). But he doesn’t move at a snail’s pace either.
His unbeaten 101 in his first test was bludgeoned off 130 deliveries at SuperSport Park, while his sensational 933 runs in the Sunfoil Series of 2013/2014 came at a strike-rate of 57.91 as the Cobras won the four-day domestic showpiece at a canter.
Van Zyl was in a hurry in the 2014/2015-season as well, slamming 341 runs at a strike-rate of more than 62 in the domestic four-day showpiece for the Cape Cobras.
Part of his preparations the past six weeks was to spend even more time in the gymnasium than usual, while keeping one eye on the test series between Bangladesh and Pakistan.
“I am joining the best bowling attack in the world and the best batting line-up, but we cannot be complacent against Bangladesh, who has tasted recent success (especially in One Day Internationals),” said Van Zyl.