SA’s gift to the world ... bril­liant crick­eters

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - @ja­co­van­derm Jaco van der Merwe

Mount Muan­ganui and Bris­bane might be 2 436km and a big chunk of the Tas­man Sea apart, but very sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances played out in both cricket venues last week.

Be­sides the hosts record­ing in­nings vic­to­ries in both Tests, there was some­thing else that stood out.

At the Gabba, Aus­tralia’s No 3 bats­man was named man of the match against Pak­istan for his su­perb 185.

Over on New Zealand’s North Is­land, the Ki­wis’ wick­et­keeper/ bats­man scored 205 to earn him­self the man-of-the-match hon­ours.

Guess what? Both Mar­nus Labuschagn­e and BJ Watling are South African born.

Labuschagn­e – or La­booshane, as the Aussies call him – hails from Klerks­dorp and Watling from Dur­ban. And, quite iron­i­cally, they both left Mzansi with their par­ents at the age of 10.

And another fel­low who ac­tu­ally stayed in South Africa into his 20s, Neil Wagner, was in­stru­men­tal in the Black Caps’ de­mo­li­tion of Eng­land.

The left-arm seamer, who turned out for North­erns a dozen years ago, floored Joe Root’s side by tak­ing 5/44 on the fi­nal day.

Proteas fans don’t need any re­mind­ing that the man who sent them home dur­ing the 2015 World Cup – Grant El­liott – was in fact a South African.

Not to men­tion wick­et­keeper Kruger van Wyk, who wore the gloves be­fore Watling.

When it comes to Eng­land, we can dis­cuss the num­ber of South Africans who have turned out for them over the last decade un­til the cows come home.

Kevin Pi­etersen is the most no­table, but don’t for­get the likes of Jonathan Trott, Keaton Jen­nings and Jade Dern­bach.

Hence the old joke: “Where do the Eng­land play­ers stay when they tour South Africa? At their par­ents.”

Mean­while, over in Ire­land, ex-Gri­quas all-rounder An­dre Botha had a hand in their glo­ri­ous run at the World Cup in 2007, while ex-Affies man Thi­nus Fourie also turned out for them later that year.

Ryan ten Doeschate, Wes­ley Bar­resi and Roelof van der Merwe all turned out in orange colours for the Dutch.

De­wald Nel, another prod­uct from Klerks­dorp, turned out for Scot­land and for­mer Proteas limited-overs seamer Rusty Theron is wear­ing the colours of the US these days.

For­mer Proteas Test spin­ner Si­mon Harmer is set­ting the county scene alight as a Kol­pak player and its very likely he could play for Eng­land once he qual­i­fies.

And it’s not only our play­ers mak­ing names for them­selves over­seas.

South Africans coaches have been very ac­tive too.

Gary Kirsten is the best ex­am­ple, af­ter win­ning the World Cup as In­dia coach in 2011.

Another for­mer Proteas coach Mickey Arthur has had stints with Aus­tralia and Pak­istan, while coun­ter­part Rus­sell Domingo is in charge of Bangladesh these days and Lance Klusener of Afghanista­n.

All these coaches have been part of the Proteas set-up – but there is no guar­an­tee that the play­ers would have even been con­sid­ered for higher hon­ours had they stayed on.

And there­fore I’m not try­ing to beat the fa­mil­iar old drum of sug­gest­ing that we erred some­where by al­low­ing them to slip through the net – but rather use them to il­lus­trate what an in­flu­ence South Africans have on world cricket.

So how the hell is our own back yard in such sham­bles?

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