Sky’s the limit for hard-hit­ting bats­man

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD - THAHIR ASMAL

IT IS early days in his cricket ca­reer, but Farhaan Sayan­vala cer­tainly has the po­ten­tial to reach the top.

The 20-year-old from Jo­han­nes­burg was part of the South Africa team that won the Hong Kong Sixes re­cently af­ter they beat a star-stud­ded Pakistan in the fi­nal.

It was a com­pe­ti­tion which favoured the ag­gres­sive and hard-hit­ting bats­man, who proved to be one of

South Africa’s stand-out per­form­ers.

The fast-paced ver­sion of the game is played on a small field with bats­men forced to re­tire once they reach a score of 31.

Three times out of five, the man they call Fudgie blud­geoned his way to re­tire­ment, smash­ing six af­ter six into the Hong Kong sky.

“It was an in­cred­i­ble tour­na­ment for me. It is about hav­ing fun and ex­press­ing your­self and I am happy that I was able to play my nat­u­ral game,” Sayan­vala said.

He was called up to the team, coached by for­mer Pro­teas bats­man, Ash­well Prince, af­ter good form at the re­cent Africa T20 Cup for Gaut­eng.

“I could not be­lieve it when I got the call,” Sayan­vala said.

“To play the way we did against top in­ter­na­tional play­ers like So­hail Tan­veer and Mo­ham­mad Sami in the fi­nal was great.”

The young­ster has en­joyed a steady rise since fin­ish­ing school at St Johns Col­lege in 2015.

His good per­for­mances in the Khaya Ma­jola Coca-cola Week earned him a place in the SA Schools team.

Just a few months later he landed a spot in the SA Un­der-19 team for the 2016 World Cup in Bangladesh.

“I first started play­ing cricket with my brother and cousins in our garage,” Sayan­vala said. “I be­gan to be­lieve that I could make a ca­reer out of it af­ter I made the pro­vin­cial Un­der-19 side.”

Once he re­turned from the World Cup he earned his first taste of List-a cricket.

He con­tin­ued: “My goal is to en­joy play­ing cricket for Gaut­eng and hope­fully get a call up to the fran­chise team.

“The best thing I can do is fo­cus on my own per­for­mances and hope that it gets no­ticed.”

While he has quickly de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for his out­stand­ing T20 skills, Sayan­vala be­lieves he can also per­form in the longer ver­sions of the sport.

“I do not change the way I play in the longer for­mats,” he says. “If I see the ball, I hit it. I like keep­ing it sim­ple.”

Out­side cricket, Sayan­vala is study­ing mar­ket­ing man­age­ment part-time at the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand.

“My par­ents have been very sup­port­ive and that helps me a lot. Their be­lief in me is what drives me.”

Farhaan Sayan­vala.

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