Man in charge

2013-08-26 00:00

DAVID Knowles: A Free Stater born and bred. Why the move to Durban?

Morné van Wyk: I see this as an opportunity to grow and improve. I feel I need to be here and the team needs to perform after too many seasons of just going through the motions and nothing to show for it.

Were there any offers from other franchises? Were the Dolphins always another option?

I’ve been thinking of moving down here for a while and have finally arrived. The emphasis is on me playing my part in growing and developing the current players. There have been no offers from anywhere else and I had no plans to move anywhere but to the Dolphins when I did move.

Having arrived and met the players, do you see some potential, perhaps the possibility of something in the trophy cabinet at last?

Definitely. There is a core of great youngsters in the squad, mixed with some experienced players who provide leadership. The opportunity is there to build a great side and leave a legacy in years to come.

Did you expect to be offered the captaincy?

No. I was originally contracted as a senior player to offer support, stability and leadership to the team. I had been here for about two months when I got the call to attend a meeting where the captaincy was offered.

Initially, I wasn’t too sure and had to ponder on it for a while before accepting a two-year deal.

It’s been a barren time for the Dolphins in recent years. Do you believe you can change their fortunes?

Things won’t happen overnight. It’s a process, but one I visualise with a positive outcome. Dolphins cricket is rich in history and we owe it to the past players to build on their foundation.

Your thoughts on working with Dolphins coach Lance Klusener.

I’m looking forward to working with him. He is passionate about the franchise having grown up and played all his cricket here. My game has reached a different level in the past three to four years and I believe there are exciting times ahead, on a team and personal level.

To the average observer, your age may be starting to tell against you, people believing your best days are past.

I still have a hunger for the game, to perform the best I can personally and for the team I represent. I feel like I am 26/27, fitter and stronger than I have ever felt. The last two seasons, I have felt great from a physical and health perspective. I enjoy the exercising, running and gym disciplines when it comes to training.

Will you still open the batting and do the keeping duties for the Dolphins, as you did for the Knights?

It’s hard to say before the season has started, but my view is to slot in and do whatever is best for the team, what the team needs. Wherever my skills need to be used then I will give my best shot. Different scenarios will call for different responsibilities and these will be dealt with accordingly.

You mentioned wanting to leave a legacy after your contribution to Dolphins cricket. How do you think you could achieve this?

I want to be part of building a great Dolphins side with the talent currently offered. We must mine what we have here and create our own entity. The players must aspire to where they want to be and take the team to the next level. We definitely have a rich talent of young players capable of doing this.

Van Wyk Facts

ALWAYS knowing he wanted to play cricket, Van Wyk made his debut for Free State B when he was in Grade 10 at Grey College. He made his debut for the senior side when he was in Matric.

He reached junior provincial level in cricket, rugby, tennis and hockey — using the latter to develop his hand-eye co-ordination. In Grade 8 and 9 he played Craven Week rugby.

He was a member of the SA squad in the 1998 U19 World Cup and played at the same level against England in 1997/98.

Protea selection came in 2003 when he was selected for the one-day squad to play in a triangular series in England. Playing against the hosts, he made 17 batting at three in a paltry SA score of 107 all out, the Proteas losing by seven wickets.

He played in the only T20 at Moses Mabhida stadium, when the Proteas took on India in January 2011. Opening the batting he top- scored with 67 as the Proteas lost by 21 runs.

He has played 13 ODIs and three T20s for the Proteas.

His funniest moment on the field came in March 2007 in the ICC World Cup. Before the crucial group match against India he took a sleeping pill instead of a vitamin pill. He subsequently dropped three catches and missed a stumping. Luckily the Proteas won the match.

He is married with three children.

He doesn’t play much golf but enjoys mountain biking, having completed the Sani2c.

He has hit the beach and started longboarding. He also enjoys fly-fishing and longbow archery.

Vegetable gardening is a hobby and he prefers a cold drink to beer or wine. He will have a celebratory glass of champagne when he has to.

He enjoys reading biographies and books on life coaching.

He is not a camper and enjoys being at home. His ideal Saturday is to lie in late and spend quality time with the family.

Van Wyk stats

ODI: 13 matches — 331 runs — HS 82 — Avg 27,58

T20: 3 matches — 68 runs — HS 67 — Avg 34,00

First Class: 127 matches — 6 922 runs — HS 200* — Avg 36,05

Twenty 20: 71 matches — 1 952 runs — HS 89* — Avg 33,65, 55 catches — 15 stumpings.

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