Club Cricket SA earmarks a player from each of the 12 teams competing in the 2016 National Club Championship, which will be played in Pretoria from 21 to 27 April, for success. Section two’s likely heroes will arrive on Wednesday.
Matthew Christensen (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Cricket Club)
A matriculant from the same high school that produced former international batsmen Gary Kirsten and Jonathan Trott and named the Khaya Majola Week Player of the Tournament in 2015, Christensen has since left the Western Cape for the Eastern Province – and continues to thrive in his adopted region. Eastern Province’s captain and wicketkeeper throughout the bulk of this year’s Sunfoil 3-Day Cup and CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge, the mature 19-year-old has not allowed the dual responsibility to negatively affect his primary role as a number six or seven batsman.
Also keep an eye on: Stefan Tait
Matt Mcgillivray (University of Johannesburg Cricket Club)
A superb all-rounder bounding with confidence, Mcgillivray cherished a profitable February with the Lions in the Momentum One Day Cup. A four-for, including the key wickets of Proteas Morne van Wyk and Ryan McLaren, against the Dolphins exemplified his prowess with the ball. The franchise, though, arguably didn’t afford him enough time at the batting crease – but this has since been remedied by late March’s fluid 59 against Easterns in the CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge. University of Johannesburg CC will rely heavily on the 25-year-old in both departments.
Also keep an eye on: Ndumiso Mvelase
Corbin Bosch (University of Pretoria Cricket Club)
The son of late South African fast bowler Tertius Bosch, the 21-year-old seamer has benefited entirely from the tutelage of veteran coaches Ray Jennings and Pierre de Bruyn – and this progression has continued under the guidance of former New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman and new University of Pretoria Cricket Club coach Kruger van Wyk. An Under-19 World Cup winner in 2014 and an important part of Tuks’ Red Bull Campus Cricket World Finals title-winning campaign a year later, accolades have been plentiful for this young talent, who will unfortunately emigrate to Australia soon.
Also keep an eye on: Thomas Kaber
Tabraiz Shamsi (Kempton Park Cricket Club)
Well accustomed to performing at a high level on the back of a relatively successful stint with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the 2015 Caribbean Premier League and a key member of the Titans’ triumphant Sunfoil Series campaign this season, left-arm wrist spinner Shamsi will bring a dangerous dynamic to the Kempton Park Cricket Club bowling attack. While not a provincial, franchise, nor international tournament, the 2016 National Club Championship will prove a thorough grounding experience for a bowler widely tipped for eventual Proteas selection.
Also keep an eye on: Grant Thomson
Zakir Kathrada (Burma Lads Cricket Club)
The 24-year-old Griqualand West, Western Province and Northern Cape journeyman will be the first to admit big runs at first-class level have evaded him this season. Indeed, seven successive single-figure scores for the Northern Cape in the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup left a lot to be desired – and in need of correction for Burma Lads Cricket Club in the 2016 National Club Championship. A relatively reliable wicketkeeper, the Kimberley-based outfit will need Kathrada to be at his best if they are to finish toward the top of section one.
Also keep an eye on: Patrick Kruger
Bryan Voke (Old Selbornians Cricket Club)
Educated at the same high school that reared former South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Mark Boucher, Voke’s cricketing heyday came in 2007 and 2009, with the arrival of eight first-class and four List A appearances for Border. His performances were far from spectacular, which didn’t allow for an extended stay at provincial level. The 31-year-old remains a workhorse for Old Selbornians Cricket Club, though, and will serve the humble East London-based team well against the three privileged university units in section one.
Also keep an eye on: Royce Muller