Cricket and hockey are where Madsen excelled, but it doesn’t end there

2013-10-11 00:00

IF sporting prowess is in the genes, look no further than the Madsen family. The name is forever linked to hockey — provincial and national — with some cricket thrown in on the side. Girls or boys, if the surname is Madsen, sport is destined to be a big part of your life.

Trevor Madsen (56) was no exception, playing hockey for South Africa, cricket for Natal and four one-day internationals against Mike Gatting’s rebel tourists. “We were brought up in sport and spent nearly all our lives on sports fields,” he said. “It was a natural progression for us to take matters further.”

Although cricket and hockey were where Madsen made his mark, he was a more than useful rugby player at Glenwood. “I played for the first team at flyhalf and made less tackles than Naas Botha ever made,” joked Madsen. “Once we played a side on tour from the Cape and came up against a certain Peter Kirsten at flyhalf. The match was drawn 19-19 and he scored all the opposition’s points.”

Stick and ball sports were Madsen’s forte and in Std 9 (Grade 11), he made the SA Schools cricket side, rubbing shoulders with players such as Lee Barnard, Kepler Wessels and Kenny Watson. He soon found his way into the Natal side, as a useful top order, left-handed batsman, later to take over the wicket-keeping duties from Tich Smith.

“I started keeping in Std 4 [Grade 6], when I was at Merchiston in Pietermaritzburg. Jonty Rhodes’s father was the boarder master and another teacher, Brian Lendrum, played club cricket for one of the local clubs,” said Madsen. “He would wake me at 6 am most days to throw and bowl to him in the nets where I worked on my leg-spinning talent.”

Not that Madsen used his bowling talent much in his career. “I bowled one over, for nine runs and got a wicket,” he said. “It was in a night game against the Impalas [players from Border, Griquas, Free State] at Kingsmead and we were comfortably ahead. Captain Daryll Bestell gave me the ball and I had Marais Erasmus, now a respected umpire, caught on the fence.”

Madsen was destined for higher honours as a cricketer, but back trouble, which had forced him to give up hockey, curtailed what could have been a colourful career. “I stopped playing cricket in 1989 and made a brief comeback in 1991 when we were coming out of sporting isolation,” said Madsen. “Mike Procter, then coach of the SA side, wanted me as ’keeper for the 1992 World Cup, but I never made it, my back having the final say in a match against Northerns at Centurion, where I could not bend down and had to get Rich McGlashan to strap my pads on.”

Madsen is remembered as a wristy, articulate batsman, not one for bludgeoning the ball, but rather a player who worked the ball around the field, scoring off virtually every ball, keeping the fielders guessing. “Hockey definitely helped with that as a cricket bat had nearly twice as much hitting space as a hockey stick. I think that helped when it came to working out angles and the deft touches with bat in hand,” he said.

Playing in a time when the love for the game counted more than financial gain, Madsen is all the richer for the experience, friendships and characters he enjoyed. “Obviously, I would have enjoyed playing in today’s environment as I believe any sportsman deserves to be rewarded for their talent and the entertainment they provide,” he said.

For those who can remember his playing days, it’s worth fast forwarding to the modern day T20 circuit and letting the imagination run wild as to what Madsen would have achieved in this format. He was an artist with the bat in his hand and has left an indelible picture in many cricket connoisseurs’ mind.


“Never neglect your education and getting somewhere in life as a sport career can end in a split second. Make use of your natural talent and be prepared to put in the hard yards on your own, in your own time. If you want something badly, do the extra work to achieve what you want. At school, play as many sports as possible. Make a call later as to where you want to be.”


Likes watching sport, especially good football — Barcelona is a favourite

Plays golf off an 11 handicap. Was a three once but then started working

Is a scrambled egg specialist in the kitchen and also makes sure beers are always in the fridge

Enjoys the social side of a braai

Favourite meal is a medium rare steak with cheese sauce

Enjoys beer

Likes action movies, but watches anything, depending on who has the remote

Music must not be too loud and must have a tune.

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