“It is a brilliant selection. Zubayr Hamza made a statement with the bat last season and also grabbed the opportunity on his (first) away South Africa A tour to India,” said Dane Piedt, captain of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, about Hamza’s inclusion in the South African squad of thirteen for the test series against Pakistan.

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders and a sound temperament to win or save matches for his team,” said Ashwell Prince, coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.

“Last season we had to chase a score beyond 200 and Zubayr struck 108 not out against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins to win us the game. This season, we were in early trouble against the VKB Knights and he struck 57 to steady us and win us the game.

“Last season, he scored a century against the Warriors and with Kyle Verreynne, saved us the game,” Prince said.

Those performances under pressure convinced Prince that he’s got what it takes to play for South Africa.

The 23-year-old Hamza struck two centuries and three half-centuries in the last five Sunfoil Series matches last season and assembled 156 runs at an average of 52 against India A this year in his maiden away SA A tour.

“He plays well against spin and he is very versatile – he can open, play at number three or six. I said four months ago he is ready to play for South Africa and nothing has changed,” Piedt said.

“I was speechless when I learned of my selection. I was overjoyed and phoned my parents and thanked the Almighty,” Hamza said.

“If selected, I would try and keep it as simple as possible,” he added.

“The past three years, Shukri Conrad at the Academy made a massive difference to me and then Faiek Davids and Ashwell Prince at the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras and Russell Domingo at the SA A team played big roles.

“Russell spoke to me a lot of what is expected at the highest level and encouraged me.”

He said he wants to keep his confidence and self-belief and take pride in wearing the Proteas badge. The purpose is to embrace the challenge of representing the country and playing for 50 million South Africans while keeping his cool.

He matriculated at Rondebosch High School and played for SA Schools before breaking into the Western Province U19 group and then onto the provincial scene.

A great future beckoned for Hamza when at the age of 17 he became the fourth youngest South African to score a double century at first-class level.

In 2016, he was nominated as the provincial Three Day Cup player of the year at the CSA awards, but he has since broken into the Cape Cobras line-up.

This season he averages 31.87 and has scored 255 runs in the Four-Day Domestic Series.

“He is humble, has a solid technique and he keeps his feet on the ground. But ultimately, it’s his ability to win it or save it when under pressure because of the big match temperament that tells me he is ready to play for South Africa,” Prince said.