‘I returned with a fire in my heart’

2012-11-29 00:00

VAUGHN van Jaarsveld is relishing his role as the kingpin and senior player in the Dolphins middle-order this season and his current One-day Cup form bears testimony to his attitude out in the middle.

Enjoying his third season with the Dolphins after leaving the Lions, Van Jaarsveld has amassed 297 runs to date from six visits to the crease. This includes 63 against the Cobras in Pietermaritzburg, 91 in Bloemfontein against the Knights and a magnificent 116 in a losing cause against the Cobras at Newlands last Friday. He averages a more than useful 74,25 and his century was made after he had come to the crease with the Dolphins at 7-2.

It’s taken the powerful left-hander a while to settle in Durban, but he finally has the wind in his sails and is enjoying his cricket more than ever.

Said Van Jaarsveld: “My first two seasons here were up and down with things hanging over my head. Moving to Durban involved paperwork, which took a while to settle, and then last season the banned substance issue reared its head and I was side-lined for most of the season as punishment.

“I could have let that be the end of my cricket career but, with incredible support from the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union, I have returned with renewed determination and a fire in my heart to achieve with bat in hand.”

That fire has been burning rampantly in the past few weeks as Van Jaarsveld has started playing with freedom and belief at the crease, going for his shots and unleashing a talent which has seen the 27-year-old have more than 10 years of provincial cricket under his belt.

“I started playing for the Transvaal B side when I was a 16-year-old schoolboy at King Edward. In those days, these matches were not deemed First Class and subsequently I have lost about 3 000 such runs along the way.

“Nonetheless, I am adding runs to the tally quite well at the moment and still have at least 10 or more years of cricket left if the great Neil McKenzie (37) is the benchmark,” said Van Jaarsveld.

As Van Jaarsveld is quick to point out, his current purple patch is due to hard work and the will to succeed, as opposed to relying on natural talent. “What makes a player is the one who is always working on his game, changing technique, looking at different areas on the field and putting in the hard yards. This season, that’s has been my focus and extra time spent with Lance [Klusener] working on those aspects of my game have reaped the rewards.”

Having played two one-day internationals for the Proteas in 2009 and three T20 matches in the same year, Van Jaarsveld says his main focus at present is on the Dolphins and trying to win trophies for his franchise.

Right now though, the Dolphins are hoping for more runs from his trusty willow in tomorrow’s one-day clash against the Titans at Centurion and the Warriors next Wednesday in East London.

The Dolphins have to win both matches and hope for other teams to fall down the table to enable a play-off spot. Because of rain washing out three matches to date, the Dolphins are currently fifth with all the work to do.

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