Exclusive Interview: ‘I definitely have a big goal of playing Test cricket for the Proteas’, says Colin Ingram

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Ingram feels he is ready to don the Test whites for South Africa

Colin Ingram’s rise to fame may not have produced as much fanfare as that of England’s Joe Root, but this 27-year-old is ready to take his career to the next level.

Having already become a regular face in the ODI squad, Ingram admitted he still dreams of donning the white shirt for South Africa and representing them at the Test level.

Despite being 27, Ingram remains convinced his age will not be a deterrent for the national selectors.

“I definitely have a big goal of playing Test cricket for the Proteas. [However] I feel that I’ll be a late maturing player,” he told me in an exclusive interview. “Playing in the top order of the ODI side has helped my game a lot and if I can have a good couple of seasons in domestic four-day cricket then you never know!”

Ingram acknowledged that South Africa would not be going into the Champions Trophy with their best side, especially after veteran opener Graeme Smith was ruled out with an ankle injury, but added that the Proteas have to prove they do not ‘choke’ in pressure situations.

South Africa have frequently been branded as the ‘chokers’ of international cricket in the past, especially after their dismal performances in the 2011 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup and 2012 World Twenty20, but Ingram reiterated the fact that the side have to solely concentrate on doing their best and continue keeping their eyes on the prize.

“All you can do is smile, work hard and go out there and win a trophy. Not much else will help,” he said when asked about the ‘chokers’ tag. “The Proteas are a world class unit year in and year out and sometime soon we’ll bring home the world cup, then no-one will care anymore.”

“I think [ we need to] keep an open mind and don’t be scared to show the skills we have. We’ve always got a solid side with loads of potential so we just need to trust our games and hold nothing back.”

Ingram also took the time to talk about his personal strengths and weaknesses. His strengths may be no big shock to anyone, but the one weakness he does possess will definitely raise an eyebrow or two.

“My biggest strength is that I enjoy what I do and I’m mentally tough,” he admitted. “[My] biggest weakness is probably chocolate milk!”

Having scored three ODI centuries in 25 matches, Ingram is keen to improve his record with the bat, but highlighted his brilliant 105 in the first ODI against Pakistan still holds a special place in his heart.

“The most recent one against Pakistan in Bloemfontein,” he said. “I’d been out of the side for a while and worked incredibly hard to get selected again. It was just such a great feeling.”

He also believes the increasingly long gaps between series is not a major problem since there is a huge amount of domestic and Twenty20 cricket tournaments taking place all year round.

“No there is so much cricket on these days,” he said. “[The] gaps are probably fine just the way they are.”

Many cricketers like former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga have made their opinions known about the negative effect the increase in Twenty20 domestic tournaments are having on Test cricket, but Ingram believes it is serving a good purpose.

“I think that they are doing a good job as the interest and excitement they have brought to the game has been awesome,” he said. “But it mustn’t be overdone. Test cricket is still the purest and most special form of the game that shouldn’t be messed with.”

But, the most important question of all is, where does this 27-year-old talent see himself in five years?

“Playing for that Proteas in all three formats…well that’s the plan!” he said.

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