Standard Bank Proteas Quinton de Kock and Lungi Ngidi dominate the nominations for the 2019/20 Cricket South Africa (CSA) Men’s International Awards.

Momentum Proteas all-rounder Marizanne Kapp and batsman Laura Wolvaardt have both won nominations in four categories in the women’s section.

The gala event to honour South Africa’s top performing professional cricketers over the past year will take place on Saturday, July 4 2020, in a virtual ceremony because of the restrictions imposed by the Corona virus.

The CSA Awards Judging panel recently finalized the nominations list for the important occasion.

De Kock and Ngidi have both been nominated in the following three categories: SA Men’s Cricketer of the Year, Standard Bank ODI Cricketer of the Year and Standard Bank T20 Cricketer of the Year. In addition, De Kock has been nominated Standard Bank Test Cricketer of the Year along with Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje as well as for the SA Men’s Players’ Players award, while Ngidi has been nominated for the KFC Streetwise Award.

Either one of them could also be a contender for SA Fans’ Cricketer of the Year.

Nortje in his first year of international cricket has also been nominated in the SA Men’s Cricketer of the Year and RAM Delivery of the Year category.

Other Proteas men’s players nominated in the various categories are Temba Bavuma (Standard Bank T20 Cricketer of the Year), Heinrich Klaasen (Standard Bank ODI Cricketer of the Year), David Miller (SA Men’s Players’ Player of the Year) and Vernon Philander (RAM Delivery of the Year).

Neither Ngidi nor Nortje has previously won CSA’s highest men’s accolade of SA Cricketer of the Year while De Kock, having previously won the award in 2017, will be aiming to join the elite company of the previous double winners: Makhaya Ntini (2005/06), Jacques Kallis (2004/11), Hashim Amla (2010/13), AB de Villiers (2014/15) and Rabada (2016/18).

In the women’s section Kapp and Wolvaardt have both been nominated for Momentum Proteas Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year and for the Momentum Proteas Players’ Player of the year. Wolvaardt has also been nominated for Momentum Proteas Cricketer of the Year and for the KFC Streetwise award while Kapp has an additional nomination for the RAM Delivery of the Year.

The other contenders for the supreme women’s accolade of SA Women’s Cricketer of the Year are Shabnim Ismail and Lizelle Lee who have both also been nominated for Momentum Proteas T20 Cricketer of the Year along with newcomer Nadine de Klerk. Ayabonga Khaka has been nominated for Momentum Proteas ODI Player of the Year.

Mignon du Preez joins Wolvaardt in being nominated for the KFC Streetwise award.

The function will feature a notable first with South Africa’s best men’s and women’s cricketers for the first time going head to head in two categories: KFC Streetwise Award and the RAM Delivery of the Year.

“It is my great pleasure and privilege to congratulate all the nominees as we celebrate the achievements of both our Proteas men’s and women’s squads,” commented CSA Acting Chief Executive Dr. Jacques Faul.

“And, while we are doing that, let us not forget to thank all those great and selfless people who work diligently behind the scenes to create opportunities for our leading cricketers to excel.

“Our country continues to produce world-class players. Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Faf du Plessis and Imran Tahir all rank among the top men’s players in the world across the various formats and I think we have all been excited to see new faces such as Anrich Nortje and Janneman Malan who have emerged in the past year.”

The CSA Awards Judging Panel consists of: Jeremy Fredericks (Convener), Crystal Arnold, Makhaya Ntini, Clinton du Preez, Lungani Zama and Natalie Germanos with statistical input by Andrew Samson.

“As always, these awards are tough to judge due to the stiff nature of the competition,” commented Fredericks. “Our world-class senior players are well established and there is an encouraging number of international newcomers making their mark as well.

“The judging panel was impressed by the overall performances during the season of the nominees in the various categories,” Fredericks added.

Loyal Proteas fans can also have their say in the awards. The SA Fans Cricketer of the Year requires fans to vote for this award. Further details of how the voting mechanism works can be found on CSA’s Social Media platforms.

SELECTED AWARDS NOMINATIONS

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL AWARDS

PITCHVISION PROVINCIAL COACH OF THE YEAR

  • Richard das Neves (Easterns)
  • JP Triegaardt (Northern Cape)
  • Geoffrey Toyana (Northerns)

CSA PROVINCIAL ONE-DAY CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Ruan de Swardt (Northerns)
  • Jacques Snyman (Northern Cape)
  • Basheer Walters (EP)
  • Codi Yusuf (Gauteng)

CSA PROVINCIAL THREE-DAY CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Andrea Agathangelou (Easterns)
  • Patrick Botha (Free State)
  • Beyers Swanepoel (Northern Cape)

DOMESTIC PROFESSIONAL AWARDS

DOMESTIC NEWCOMER OF THE SEASON

  • Wandile Makwetu (VKB Knights)
  • Wesley Marshall (Momentum Multiply Titans)
  • Thando Ntini (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras)

PITCHVISION COACH OF THE SEASON

  • Mark Boucher (Proteas)
  • Wandile Gwavu (Imperial Lions)
  • Robin Peterson (Warriors)

FOUR-DAY FRANCHISE SERIES CRICKETER OF THE SEASON

  • George Linde (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras)
  • Prenelan Subrayen (Hollywoodbets Dolphins)
  • Reynard van Tonder (VKB Knights)

MOMENTUM ONE-DAY CUP CRICKETER OF THE SEASON

  • Mbulelo Budaza (VKB Knights)
  • Zubayr Hamza (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras)
  • Grant Roelofsen (Hollywoodbets Dolphins)
  • Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins)

INTERNATIONAL PROFESSIONAL AWARDS

STANDARD BANK T20 INTERNATIONAL CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Temba Bavuma
  • Quinton de Kock
  • Lungi Ngidi

STANDARD BANK ODI CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Quinton de Kock
  • Heinrich Klaasen
  • Lungi Ngidi

STANDARD BANK TEST CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Quinton de Kock
  • Anrich Nortje
  • Kagiso Rabada

SA MEN’S PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Quinton de Kock
  • David Miller

RAM DELIVERY OF THE YEAR

  • Marizanne Kapp
  • Anrich Nortje
  • Vernon Philander

KFC STREETWISE AWARD

  • Mignon du Preez
  • Lungi Ngidi
  • Laura Wolvaardt

MOMENTUM PROTEAS T20 INTERNATIONAL CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Nadine de Klerk
  • Shabnim Ismail
  • Lizelle Lee

MOMENTUM PROTEAS ODI CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Marizanne Kapp
  • Ayabonga Khaka
  • Laura Wolvaardt

MOMENTUM PROTEAS PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Shabnim Ismail
  • Luara Wolvaardt
  • Marizanne Kapp

SA FANS CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Sune Luus
  • Laura Wolvaardt
  • Ayabonga Khaka
  • Mignon du Preez
  • Shabnim Ismail
  • Marizanne Kapp
  • Tabraiz Shamsi
  • David Miller
  • Lungi Ngidi
  • Kagiso Rabada
  • Quinton de Kock
  • Anrich Nortje

MOMENTUM PROTEAS CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Shabnim Ismail
  • Lizelle Lee
  • Laura Wolvaardt

SA MEN’S CRICKETER OF THE YEAR

  • Quinton de Kock
  • Lungi Ngidi
  • Anrich Nortje

Events have been cancelled and seasons suspended. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most significant disruption to the worldwide sporting calendar since World War II. Although some training and leagues have resumed, there is no clear indication of when sport as we know it will return.

EsportSA has been working closely with traditional sports brands over the past few months in efforts to pull traditional sports into the digital realm and is now proud to announce the #3teams1city Super Challenge. This competition, the first in a series of planned provincial championships, will see players from the DHL Stormers, Cape Cobras and Cape Town City FC come head-to-head with its fans as well as South African FIFA ’20 competitors.

“This will be a great way to bring all the fans across sporting codes together for friendly competition on a virtual platform while ensuring the brands transcend traditional boundaries and be available in homes across South Africa (and potentially across the world.) It also provides the more competitive gamers a platform to showcase their talents and be recognised by some of the biggest traditional sporting brands in the country.” said Junaid Moerat (Founder of EsportSA).

Over the course of 8 weeks FIFA ‘20 online qualifiers will be held on X-Box One and PlayStation 4, with the finals being hosted live at a Cape Town based venue. These qualifiers will be split into 3 parts (running concurrently): The DHL Stormers challenge, the Citizens challenge and the Cape Cobras challenge. This will give fans (as well as amateur, semi-pro and pro FIFA ‘20 players) the chance to enter online and compete for the top 8 spots challenge where they will represent their respective teams in the #3teams1city Super Challenge.

Brand and Sponsorship Manager of the Cape Cobras, David Brooke says, “With the nationwide lockdown taking place during our traditional off-season months, it’s important for our players to continuously engage with our supporters. Whilst traditional social media platforms have been the platforms of choice to date, by exposing our brand to the Esports audience, it allows us to engage in a platform, which we all know has huge potential in our constantly evolving sports industry. To partner with our brothers at Cape Town City FC and the DHL Stormers, it continues our endeavours as three of the biggest sports teams in our city to play as one.”

Cape Cobras confirmed for the #3teams1city Cape Cobras Esports Challenge are George Linde (Protea), Kyle Verreynne (Protea), Tony de Zorzi, Imraan Manack, Janneman Malan (Protea), Nandre Burger and Isma-eel Gafieldien.

“Having some of our fans go up against the likes of Thamsanqa Mkhize, Kermit Erasmus and Thabo Nodada in The Citizens Esports Challenge, creates another dimension for fan engagement directly with our players,” says  Cape Town City’s Commercial Director, Michel Comitis. “It’s amazing to have Cape Town’s three premium sports organizations City, DHL Stormers and Cobras unite in this esports initiative. With a fast growing fanbase, esports represents a new way for us to allow the public to engage with the club, our pro athletes, and each other. The three teams have worked regularly together in our communities, so with the current COVID-19 restrictions we can continue this interaction with our Capetonians at home, safely, through the #3teams1city Super Challenge.”

Zelt Marais (WPRFU President) has said that “this tournament will provide a unique value proposition to our stakeholders. It promises to engage fans faithful to the DHL Stormers, as well as engaging fans of soccer, cricket and esports. The #3teams1City Super Challenge will also create new opportunities for our sponsors to reach new and exciting audiences.”

The DHL Stormers faithful can look forward to showing off their FIFA ‘20 skills against the likes of Scarra Ntubeni, Juarno Augustus, Jaco Coetzee, Daniel du Plessis and David Kriel in The DHL Stormers Esports Challenge.

Dates for the EsportSA #3teams1city Super Challenge will be announced in the next week with all tournament facilitation managed by South African esports stalwarts ACGL.

For more details contact:

Junaid Moerat

media@esportsa.co.za

For a young man who never grew up watching too much cricket and had no aspirations of playing cricket professionally straight after school despite representing Border in the youth ranks, Onke Nyaku is carving out his own path in South African Cricket, a journey which sees the hugely talented all-rounder take the most important step in his career to date – a move to the Cape Cobras ahead of the 2020/2021 season.

Born in Umtata, Nyaku grew up in East London and matriculated from Selborne College in 2012 before making the move to Port Elizabeth to study at Nelson Mandela Bay University. It was there that he was snapped up by the Eastern Province Academy, did the hard yards in semi-professional cricket for a few years, before he was rewarded with his franchise debut for the Warriors against his current employers the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in the Momentum One Day Cup in 2019.

His career has been on an upward curve ever since, representing the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in the Mzansi Super League in 2019 and now the 25-year-old is looking forward to the challenge in Cape Town, noting resemblances with his new coach Ashwell Prince as a big factor as to why he accepted the offer to join the Cape franchise.

“The move to Cape Town was really a no-brainer for me. The ability to work with a former Proteas cricketer in Ashwell Prince, someone who’s played a long time for the Proteas in a batting position I’d like to bat at, can only benefit my game. The City, and being able to call the iconic stadium of Newlands my home ground, was also a big plus,” the 25-year-old said.

Whilst his ability as an all-rounder in the traditional sense is there for all to see, his agility and skills as a fielder make him the complete package in the mold of a certain England cricketer who Nyaku admires.

“I naturally like being out on the field. I didn’t really watch much cricket growing up, but I’d say I’m trying to model my cricket around someone like Ben Stokes.”

A cricketer in the mold of Ben Stokes is a captain’s dream and that’s precisely what Nyaku is looking to offer his Cobras captain and coach in both formats of the game.

“My role in red-ball cricket doesn’t really change much from white-ball cricket. I want to be able to score as many runs with the bat in the middle and end for the team and to bowl with accuracy and control while striking and getting the so called ‘big players’ of the opposition team out.”

This penchant for picking up the big fish in the opposition team will no doubt be a huge asset as he sets his sight on one day representing the Proteas, but he is under no illusions that it starts with delivering match-winning performances for his new franchise.     

“I’d love to play for the Proteas, but in order to do so, I’ll have to give more than 100% for the Cobras to achieve that, something I’m really looking forward to kick-starting very soon,” he concluded.

A Durban man for his entire life, hard-hitting all-rounder Calvin Savage never thought he’d one day be calling Newlands Cricket Ground his home. As he prepares to join up with his World Sports Betting Cape Cobras team-mates under the watchful eye of Table Mountain, he has renewed motivation to take the next forward step in his career.

Speaking from Durban as he readies himself for the move, the 27-year-old expressed his excitement for the challenge that lies ahead. “I’m at a point in my career where I’m very motivated to kick on to big honours and very excited for a new chapter in my life. I would never have thought that one day I would be able to call the Cape Cobras, Western Province and Newlands my home – it’s an opportunity I cannot wait to start.” 

The former SA U19 all-rounder has matured in recent years, both in his personal and professional life and having recently become a father, coupled with his willingness to take on leadership roles within teams he has represented, he is able to offer coach Ashwell Prince more than just his ability with bat and ball.

“Becoming a dad and having my own little family has changed my life completely. My pressures in life are completely different to what they were when I was 22 or 23. Nowadays I find it a lot easier to leave my work at work and not bring home the pressures and frustrations which come with being a professional sportsman. But, I do now have a responsibility to my family to be the best I can be for them so that they can live the life they deserve. All in all, I would say it has definitely changed me for the best. It has made me a better person and I can feel it’s starting to show in my cricket.

“Leadership is something I’ve always wanted to be a part of in my career. Taking on that kind of responsibility helps my own game as I find it keeps me more engaged which ends up helping my own game. As I’m sure all of us people who play sport in a team environment, want to win and helping younger players and trying to create the right team environment and atmosphere is my way of trying to get us closer to that goal of silverware.”

Prince has stated clearly that the likes of Savage, fellow all-rounder Corbin Bosch and spinner Imraan Manack bring certain skills which will undoubtedly improve the team in the limited overs format, and Savage is looking forward to bringing his attacking style of play to complement Prince’s attacking mindset he likes to see from any side he coaches in any format of the game.

“I’ve always been a naturally attacking batsman and as I’ve improved my game, I’ve found a way to go about my innings in the best way to get my team into a winning position. Batting in the position I do often requires someone who can move the game forward a bit quicker, be it in white or red-ball cricket for that matter. In red-ball cricket I often have to set us up with a total to go out and bowl a team out and win and the more time we have to bowl, the better chance we have, or I will find myself in a position where I have to play a calculated innings in chasing down a target. Either way an attacking game plan will help the team. I think attacking cricket is important in South African cricket in general, just with the direction the game is moving. We have to keep up or be left behind,” he said.

Whilst Savage has added motivation to join up with his Cobras team-mates when lockdown regulations allow for it, he has been keeping himself mentally and physically fit, whilst also running his academy and providing support for his family.

“My girlfriend has to go into work every day and I am running my own cricket coaching academy online now and then also playing dad is not always the easiest. During our time off I have been doing a bit of running and some lounge gym sessions, but now that our pre-season has started, I am doing some form of fitness 5 days a week to get me ready for the season and I will look into skills-work towards the end of June and beginning of July,” he concluded.

Following on from a career-best first-class double century against the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras at Newlands last season, batsman Tony de Zorzi has made the move from up North to continue his promising career under the tutelage of head coach Ashwell Prince and his assistant Faiek Davids down in the Cape.

In the past couple of seasons, De Zorzi has displayed maturity beyond his 22-years of age, having already played 33 first-class matches, 46 List A matches and 35 T20s at domestic level. He credits this maturity to a cricketing journey which has centred on absorbing the knowledge he has received from his coaches throughout the years.

“Throughout most of my cricketing journey, I’ve had coaches who have encouraged me to read the game and take responsibility for the choices I make on the field, and I think that it started from a young age. If I look at my high school years, Ryan Cook was obviously really helpful in getting me to understand momentum in a particular game. Then when I went to Tuks, Kruger (van Wyk) made me think of ways to really use the moment to win games,” he said, going on to confirm what many scribes have noted, that the left-hand batsman enjoys the pressure which comes with the job of a top-order batsman who has ambitions to reach the top level of cricket.

“I think the skill of playing under pressure is something that is developed with experience. As well as me believing that my skill-set will allow me to perform under pressure or when the team needs me. Ultimately, when I look at players that do well under pressure, they believe that they are the person for that particular pressure moment and I think that’s a skill that has just gotten better for me throughout the years and hopefully it will continue to grow.”

One can draw a number of similarities between De Zorzi and his new coach Ashwell Prince, both left-handed batsmen, neither of them shirking their responsibility at the top of the order when their team needs them the most and now the same drive to deliver success for the Cobras in the coming seasons.

“Firstly, I just want to be part of the team culture at the Cobras and become one of the pillars for success in the team and adding more match-winning performances. Performances or even moments that contribute massively to winning a particular game and then trophies is the main goal,” he added.

Whilst De Zorzi is one of those cricketers who analyses his game after each match, he also manages to find a balance between cricket and life outside of it and he is looking forward to exploring what the Mother City has to offer.

“I think I am a bit of both. I take note of a lot things that I’m doing both on and off the field when things are going well, so that I can try replicate that success and make it consistent. I do enjoy talking about cricket. I spent a lot of time with my former team-mate Jonathan Vandiar off the field and we spoke about cricket most of the time and I think I learned a lot of crucial insights, tips and tricks that doesn’t always come from coaches, but from guys who are currently playing or going through things themselves.”

“In terms of Cape Town, well my girlfriend wants me to go to some Clay Cafe thing, but I’m obviously in no rush to do that. I think I will definitely do a few of the touristy things for the first couple of months, like Signal Hill, Boulders Beach and Table Mountain, and then hopefully the local lads can show me some good places to eat and hang out,” he concluded.

De Zorzi joins up with his World Sports Betting Cape Cobras team-mates as soon as the national lockdown concludes.

The Western Province Cricket Association have appointed current finance manager Tennyson Botes as the interim CEO after the retirement of previous CEO Nabeal Dien, who ended his 22-year tenure with WPCA at the end of April.

The game of cricket has always been an intimate part of Botes’ life and he has been a representative player on various levels throughout his career, including captaining the first team of his Alma Mater, Paarl Boys’ High in 2006, captaining Boland u18 in the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week and Boland u19 cricket teams in 2006-2007, representing the Boland amateur cricket team in 2007 and representing Paarl Cricket Club and Maties in 2007-2008. 

Botes graduated with a Bachelor of Accounting (Honours) degree from Stellenbosch University in 2011, after matriculating from Paarl Boys’ High School in 2006.  

During his studies at Stellenbosch University, where he also formed part of the Thuthuka Bursary Fund, he was awarded the Golden Key Award in his first year in recognition of his excellent academic performance.  

In 2012 he started his articles with the Auditor General of SA (AGSA) as a trainee auditor. This exposure to such a vast client base in the public sector, which included the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, the South African Post Office, the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport and local municipalities in the Western Cape among others, placed him at the cutting-edge of financial reporting, planning, monitoring and review of projects and financial leadership.  

Upon completion of his articles with the AGSA and after being appointed as an assistant audit manager there in 2015, he registered as a member of SAICA, as a Chartered Accountant.  

In many ways, Tennyson returned to his beloved cricketing family in 2017 when he was appointed as finance manager of Western Province Cricket Association, Western Cape Cricket (Pty) Ltd (the Cape Cobras franchise) and Western Province Professional Cricket (Pty) Ltd, bringing technical, commercial governance and leadership strengths to the team, under the previous CEO Nabeal Dien.  

WPCA President Advocate Nic Kock conveyed his message of support for Botes: “Mr Botes has acted with aplomb in place of the outgoing CEO on several occasions, therefore his appointment is a natural progression for this dynamic young man. The WPCA Board has full confidence in his leadership during these critical times for sport in our country’s history.”

Botes expressed pride and honour in his appointment: “I look forward to the opportunity to be of service to the cricket fraternity in these unprecedented times. I would therefore like to thank the President, Nic Kock and the WPCA Board for displaying the confidence in me and presenting me with this amazing opportunity in this interim period.

“My journey in various leadership roles has brought me to this sobering realization, ‘When you LEAD, be sure to leave leadership IMPRINTS that are deep enough so that when it rains, those who follow in your pathway, can quench their thirst.’” 

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras left-arm fast bowler Akhona Mnyaka is determined to play a pivotal role in both white-ball and red-ball cricket when the 2020/2021 season gets underway.

Mnyaka, just 20-years-old, has played only one first-class match in his career, with 15 List A matches and 10 T20 matches to his name and the youngster is out to prove that he’s not just a limited overs cricketer.

“As a team, if we’re being honest, we didn’t do so well last season. We know where we finished so hopefully we’ll do better in the new season.”

“From a personal point of view, if I’m brutally honest with myself, I didn’t have any personal highs this past season. I’d like to improve that in the upcoming season and do better for the team. In terms of my lows, I obviously got injured so that was a big blow for me, so I am trying to keep fit, improve and try not to disappoint myself again to be more available to be selected to play.”

“Everyone plays to win, so we’d like to win at least one competition out of the two as a team. Personally, a goal for myself is to play a certain amount of games in 4-Day cricket where I haven’t really played much, so one of the goals would be to play in the 4-Day competition and perform well.”

Mnyaka is well aware that he won’t have senior heads around him in the bowling department this coming season, with the likes of Dane Piedt, Dane Paterson, Lizaad Williams and Rory Kleinveldt departing the franchise, but the former SA U19 star is not daunted by this prospect and is confident that he and his new team-mates will rise to the challenge.

“With the senior players having left, it is a fairly new squad, with new players, and the bowlers who are there haven’t been around for long in the team. So it is time for me to take it upon myself as I have been trying to do in the past season as well, but I think now more, it’s time to step up and lead from the front. Obviously there are older guys coming from different teams who have more experience that I could learn from and try and do my role better, perform for the team and put on good performances for the team, the TEAM before ‘I’.”

“It’s a really exciting new squad at the Cobras, it is more dimensional, and we’ve got different types of players, with different styles of playing the game. We’ve got a good strong squad to perform in both the red ball and white ball competitions,” he added.

With the nationwide lockdown currently in place in South Africa, Mnyaka is utilising this time to work on both the physical and mental side of his game to ensure that when cricket does eventually get underway, he is raring to go for coach Ashwell Prince.

“It (lockdown) has been pretty difficult, I’ve been trying to exercise, eat well and keep fit and healthy. Motivation-wise I keep going, and I’m using this opportunity to improve on my fitness and improve mentally in the game as well as outside of the game and how to handle myself.”

“I’ve been focusing on cardio mainly, a bit of running, some speed and endurance things – cardio is the main focus for me. I just really love cardio, it sort of helps me with everything else fitness-wise and so on.”

“Aside from working out I’ve been watching TV and trying to find ways to keep myself entertained,” he concluded.

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras left-arm fast bowler Nandre Burger is relishing the opportunity of potentially leading a young bowling attack when action eventually gets underway in the 2020 / 2021 season.

Burger, who joined the Cobras at the start of last season, enjoyed an encouraging start to his career at Newlands but lamented not being able to deliver match-winning performances when given the opportunity.

“In my mind I took a massive risk moving to Cape Town, almost giving up everything I had in Johannesburg,” the 24-year-old said.

“My high for the season was, making my debut against my old team (Imperial Lions). For me, another high was getting to represent the Cobras and becoming a part of the culture. My low, obviously, would be that we didn’t perform too well last season. I am disappointed that I couldn’t provide or perform in match-winning performances more often, I feel that I had a below-standard goal-setting season.”

He did, however, enjoy being part of Ashwell Prince’s set up and is looking forward to what lies ahead for the Western Cape Franchise as they welcome some exciting talent to Cape Town.

“I really enjoyed the intensity and the pressure that gets put on us at practice and match time,” he said.

“We have a lot of new faces who have come in and obviously Tshepo (Moreki) has come back. We always speak about us being a young squad, four of our over 30’s – our experienced players – have either retired or moved on and I think the squad is now really young and we can officially say we have an ‘inexperienced’ squad, which is really exciting. Very few of us have played a full franchise season, being involved in every game, so going forward I am really excited to see what everyone can do,” he added.  

“I think 8 out of the 11 players who are stepping out onto the field are playing with nothing to lose; playing with absolute freedom, which I think is really exciting. Everyone can expect freedom and a fully youth-exuberant style of play from us, I think everyone will go out and play without fear.”

The nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic brought a premature end to the season and has forced the players to find creative ways to keep their fitness levels up in the longer-than-expected off-season.

“Sherman (Baatjes, Cobras strength and conditioning coach) has given us a program to do, obviously it’s a bit difficult because I don’t have weights or a treadmill or anything like that, so I rely on using water bottles as weights and a rubber band and using household equipment to gym with trying to make the most of the limited resources I do have. I don’t have a yard so I am not bowling at the moment but I am trying to gym as hard as I can, stretch just to get some strength in at least, and keep up with as much fitness and the requirements as I possibly can.”

Burger has also found time to work on some non-cricket-related skills, which might see him star in a celebrity reality cooking show one day.

“As you can see, (if you follow me on Instagram @17_Nandre) what I have been up to is losing in all the board games, watching series and a couple of documentaries. Doing fun things, trying new recipes cooking-wise, baking things, trying some healthy recipes, letting the inner Nandre MasterChef, Cape Town out! I have also been building a puzzle that took forever.”  

Coach Ashwell Prince now knows who to turn to the next time the Cobras have a team braai…

Coach Ashwell Prince believes perspective needs to be taken into consideration when looking back at the season his team recently finished.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras finished last in both the 4-Day Domestic Series and the Momentum One-Day Cup, showing plenty of promise along the way, before eventually ending as wooden spoonists.

They were especially disappointing in the 50-over competition where a run of seven successive losses overshadowed a bright start that was led by one of the competition’s star batsmen in captain Zubayr Hamza.

The Standard Bank Proteas ace finished second on the run-scoring charts with 582 runs, just shy of top man Grant Roelofsen (588) of the Hollywoodbets Dolphins.

Youngster Thando Ntini was the best of their bowlers, coming fifth with 14 scalps.

However, in the 2019/20 first-class season, they were still in the hunt for the title, albeit having failed to win any of their eight matches.

“Perspective is very important when you reflect,” Prince said. “I’ve said it already that we haven’t been great in white-ball cricket over the past few years. We wanted to get stronger as far as that’s concerned and I think we did that to an extent.

“Of the eight completed four-day matches, we were in the driving seat probably in most of the ones that we ended up drawing.

“We lost the opening match in Potchefstroom by 10 or so runs on what I like to think was a sub-standard pitch. So, we were right in the game there. And in six of the draws, I think we were in the driving seat in most of those games.

“One could argue that rain saved the opposition more than it saved the Cobras in those games, so I take things with perspective.

“In one-day cricket, it’s obvious that we do need some improvement and I think that’s why a lot of the recruitments have been based around one-day cricket.”

The season, of course, ended prematurely due to the outbreak of COVID-19, which has brought the world of sport and the globe in general to a standstill.

That meant that the Imperial Lions, top of the table at the time, were crowned four-day champions and the Dolphins the one-day winners.

“I felt that had we won our last two games, which would have been the Lions and (VKB) Knights away, things could have been different,” Prince explained. “If you beat the Lions then you are six points off the lead because they were the leaders, so it’s last (where we finish) yes, but there’s a lot more to the story than just looking at the table at the end of the season.”

Leading performers in the four-day campaign for the Cape side were George Linde (30 wickets), who ended second overall, and Matthew Kleinveldt (558 runs).

With next season now the focus for all teams, the Cobras recently announced the acquisition of Tony de Zorzi, Imraan Manack, Tshepo Moreki, Corbin Bosch, Onke Nyaku and Calvin Savage for the new term.

Locals Isma-eel Gafieldien, Ziyaad Abrahams and Jonathan Bird have also been brought on with upgraded contracts.

Prince added: “We are extremely excited about the players that we’ve brought in. There’s a lot of really good players; there’s pace in the bowling department; some experienced players in terms of one-day or white ball cricket.

“And that’s obviously an area where we felt we needed strengthening because, over the last few years, we’ve been more competitive in red ball cricket than in white ball cricket.”

Young wicketkeeping prospect Kyle Verreynne is pleased with the trajectory of his career, saying he learned a lot from spending time with the Standard Bank Proteas this past summer before finally earning his debut in February.

The 22-year-old, for so long seen as a player with a bright future, played in all three Momentum One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against Australia – South Africa’s last completed series prior to COVID-19 curtailing the campaign.

The Wynberg Boys High School product hit scores of 48, 3 and 50 as the hosts swept the series 3-0, before being named for the ODI series in India that ended prematurely due to the virus outbreak.

Before that, he was on the fringes of national selection during the home series against England and he says that time spent within the team laid the foundation for his successful induction at the highest level.

“A lot of people may see me being part of the England series and not getting a game as being a disappointment but I think it was probably one of the best things that could have happened,” Verreynne explained. “Just because you get to experience a team culture.

“I got a chance to interact with all the players and sort of experience what being part of an international setup was like and also train with the guys and you sort of understand the level of intensity that is required at that level. That opportunity meant that when I did play against Australia, I felt a lot more prepared.”

In truth, Verreynne had been knocking on the door for the past few seasons however, with the number one wicketkeeping berth nailed down by limited overs captain Quinton de Kock it was always going to be difficult. In spite of it all, the young man did all he could to impress the selectors, including scoring 551 runs at an average of 55.10 in the Four-Day Domestic Series.

“My highlights from the past season? I definitely have to start off by saying scoring two centuries in a four-day game against the (Momentum Multiply) Titans,” Verreynne said. “For me red ball cricket is really enjoyable and one of my ultimate goals is to play Test cricket, so to be able to put in a performance like that, scoring two centuries in one four-day game was something that I was really proud of.

“Going on to win the MSL (Mzansi Super League) with the Paarl Rocks team was really special. Obviously from not originally being drafted to any team in the MSL to then coming in as a replacement for Aiden Markram and then playing all tournament with the Paarl Rocks, I felt quite good contributing to the win.

“I think obviously my international debut in Paarl against Australia was so far, the highlight my career. It’s something that you dream of and you think about so much growing up and to finally get there means a lot to me and doing reasonably well, it was really special.”

His fine first-class form also bumped up his career average to over 50 and the Verreynne says his next target is naturally to play Test cricket for the Proteas.

“Obviously having played in the One-Day side now, I’d like to firstly work hard and keep my place there, but looking further ahead I definitely want to play Test cricket,” he adds. “I’ll be putting a lot of focus on the pre-season in the winter to try and achieve that. I also want to win a trophy with the (World Sports Betting Cape) Cobras, it’s something that hasn’t happened yet, so that’s definitely a target for me as well.”