Three Proteas cricketers – and their club cricket roots

Dale SteynFile image: Dale Steyn

Vernon Philander

Philander is well associated with Tygerberg Cricket Club, who are – inconsistently – a forced to be reckoned with in Western Province Cricket Association club cricket.

The club was in danger of relegation to the first division B, when Philander was recalled to help them stay in the first division A in March last year. The selection worked, too, with Philander performing well – with bat and ball.

“It is great to have Vernon playing for the club, even if it is just one game. All the guys are hyped up and raring to go. With Vernon being there, it will surely make the guys play at their best,” said club secretary Alnico Adams at the time.

Dale Steyn

Nursing a groin and shoulder injury, in a bid to return to full fitness and earn a recall to the Proteas XI, Steyn made a one-off appeaance for Western Province Cricket Club, against St Augustine Cricket Club, early last year. The pace ace bowled really well in that key WPCA premier league fixture at the Vineyard Oval in Claremont, where he clinched five telling breakthroughs – and commanded the respect of the overawed opposition.

“We first heard at practice that we were going to play against Steyn. I thought it was just a bit of banter, but when I rocked up at the ground for the match, there he was – the man himself,” St Augustine Cricket Club batsman Ishmael Evans told Eye Witness News in March 2016.

“It was a great experience to face someone of his calibre, someone of his quality – and something that I won’t forget. Facing him, I was just trying to keep it simple, watch the ball – that’s what you try and do for every bowler.

“You just have to treat him as another bowler. I think if you try to play the man, you’ve already lost. Try to keep it simple, watch the ball, let your skills do the rest.”

Those who bet on cricket matches would’ve all but banked on heavy defeat for St Augustine CC – and that’s exactly what transpired.

Tabraiz Shamsi

Prior to relative fame with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League, the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and eventual arrival to T20I, ODI and Test match cricket, Shamsi’s humble beginnings were nurtured by a string of fixtures for Kempton Park Cricket Club in Gauteng.

The talented left-arm wrist-spinner counts current Dolphins coach Grant Morgan and former Titans coach Rob Walter among those key to his cricketing upbringing.

“I’ve worked with Grant a lot over the years. We worked together at Gauteng, where I got my first opportunity at first-class level back in 2009. He was the first guy who basically backed me, and we are very close now,” Shamsi told ESPNcricinfo.

“Rob has encouraged me to keep pushing myself to get better and better with each day. He never lets you rest on your laurels, he is a big motivator. He always wants the bar put higher and higher. If you’re giving 100 percent, he wants 200. As a player, when there is a coach expecting things like that, it’s a great place to be.”