Johannesburg: South African player Ryan McLaren has said that he hoped that the ICC Champions Trophy will be the tournament where he cements his position as the all-rounder in South Africa`s Castle Lager sponsored- ODI team.
McLaren top-scored with 55 in South Africa`s warm-up match against Pakistan on Monday, and gained valuable time at the crease ahead of the tournament opener on Thursday.
Expressing pleasure at his performance, McLaren said that it felt good to play in the middle-order and have good match intensity as he did not have much match time to spend despite playing in the Indian Premier League.
According to McLaren, he will take confidence from the warm-up game against Pakistan, even though it cannot be compared to the intensity of the main matches, and play in the first game against India on Thursday.
Although McLaren stated that absent Jacques Kallis will be difficult to replace as he is one of the best cricketers South Africa has produced, he added that he has a different, albeit specific role in the team, which requires him batting lower down in the order and also taking the ball at first change.
Absence of Kallis becomes an opportunity for McLaren to successfully occupy the role within the team, adding that McLaren has proved his strengths with the ball during the home series against Pakistan and will be invaluable at No.7 if he comes off with the bat.
McLaren, who has only played 22 matches for South Africa over a four-year period, has recently become a regular option for the Proteas after finishing as the joint highest wicket-taker in the series against New Zealand and was also awarded a Cricket South Africa national contract for the 2013/2014 season.