Shafiek Abrahams

Don't write off club cricket

2006-03-10 11:39

The restructuring of South African cricket over the past few years led to many discussions about the merit of the new franchise system. Many of the players felt that the reduction of the number of teams meant fewer opportunities for them to participate at the top level.

This was used as an excuse for players to go overseas and play as Kolpak players in the United Kingdom. The franchise system was put into place to get strength versus strength in the top section of South African cricket. Provinces like Easterns and Griquas were unhappy to merge with the so-called bigger Unions because of their recent success stories on the playing fields.

This created the feeling that the franchise system only catered for the top performers and the bigger provinces will gain from the players the smaller counterparts brings along.

If you look around the country during this current season top players have competed in the various provincial amateur teams and forced their way into contention for their respected franchises.

Johan Myburgh of the Titans is one example of a player that was out of favour at the franchise and went back to club cricket and worked his way back into the provincial amateur team and scored four centuries on his way back into the Titans squad.

Another player that has grabbed limited opportunities given to him is Kyle Smit from the Kwazulu-Natal Dolphins. He excelled for his club Amanzimtoto and was selected for last season's Pro20 series and grabbed the chance and was a more regular starter for the Dolphins this season.

Smit attended National Cricket Academy

Smit also attended the National Cricket Academy at the University of Pretoria's high performance centre last year and his efforts and hard work paid off when he was contracted by the Dolphins for the coming two seasons.

The most recent and notable rise of a player must be the emergence of the Titans wicket-keeper batsman Heino Khune. The talented right hand opening batsman took the opportunity that was afforded to him by the Titans when he was included ahead of the luckless Kruger van Wyk.

Van Wyk who must be one of the best keepers in the country lost out when the Titans were struggling with an opening batsman to fill the huge gap that Alviro Peterson left when he departed to the Lions. Khune was prolific for the Northerns amateur team and this was how he managed to force his way into the team.

From playing club cricket these players have shown that with the necessary hard work and dedication, along with some patience, opportunities will present themselves.

The competition for places in teams will always be fierce and this must urge younger players to train harder and grab the chances when they come along because they only appear now and then.

Opportunities will always be there. Whether or not you are ready to take them is the big question.

  • Shafiek Abrahams is a former Proteas spinner

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