Veteran all-rounder Roelef van der Merwe, speaking to the media on the sidelines of the inaugural edition of SA20, opened up about Virat Kohli’s longevity and a new breed of big-hitters coming out of South Africa.
- Roelef van der Merwe played with Virat Kohli at RCB
- The Dutch all-rounder said Kohli will be hungry to break more records
- van der Merwe heaped rich praise on young South Africa batter Stubbs
PosterGuy: At 38, Roelef van der Merwe is dominating bowling charts in the inaugural edition of SA20, South Africa’s premier T20 league. The left-arm spinner, who can be handy with the bat as well, has picked up 14 wickets in 6 matches for SunRisers Eastern Cape and the rich haul includes a 6-wicket haul against Durban Super Giants.
The South African-born all-rounder, who is among the few men to represent two national sides in T20 cricket, has the motivation to get up, train and be ready for top-flight cricket even at 38, thanks to his unending thirst to taste success.
Having played across the globe, Roelef van der Merwe knows what it takes to keep going, fending away opposition batters, detractors and naysayers.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the SA20 campaign, Roelef van der Merwe said he doesn’t find any reason why somebody like Virat Kohli can’t continue playing at the highest level until he is 40. Having rubbed shoulders with Kohli during the India batter’s formative years in the Indian Premier League, van der Merwe said Kohli is one of the greatest players and he will have the hunger and thirst to break more records, including the 100 hundreds owned by legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
“I think Virat is a great player. Yes, I think he can do that. 100 hundreds, those things will be in the back of his mind. In India, following somebody like Sachin, it’s a big deal. I think it will be in the back of his mind. He will be motivated to keep going,” Netherlands all-rounder van der Merwe told IndiaToday.in.
Kohli, who endured a hundred-less patch for 3 years, has hit peak form, collecting 4 international hundreds in the last 6 months.
Speaking about what keeps him motivated to continue playing the sport at the highest level, the 38-year-old, who has played 16 ODIs and 52 T20Is, said: “Look, I love playing cricket, I love winning games. I am a very competitive person. It’s the urge to win games that keep you going. As I said, I am a very competitive person in everyday life. As long I am winning games, I will keep going. That will keep me motivated.”
NEW BREED OF BIG-HITTERS
Van der Merwe has seen the likes of AB de Villiers blossom into one of the most fearsome strikers of the cricket ball. However, the newer generation of South African batters, including his SunRisers teammate Tristan Stubbs, and Donovan Ferrerira, are a “special breed” who don’t think twice before going after the bowlers from the word go.
Stubbs, 22, has played only 13 T20Is but his big-hitting prowess is already evident. Mumbai Indians retained the South African youngster ahead of the IPL 2023 mega auction. Stubbs has set the stage on fire in SA20 as well, scoring 160 runs in 8 matches at a strike rate of over 140.
On the other hand, Ferreira, who has struck 123 runs at over 130, will turn up for Rajasthan Royals in his IPL debut in 2023.
“He (Stubbs) is an unbelievable player, an unbelievable striker of the ball. You can’t really compare them to anybody that’s come, who has come in the past. These types of players who are coming in, are a new breed, hitting the ball miles,” van der Merwe said.
“It’s almost like they don’t need to construct innings. They literally tee off from the start. You look at guys like him and Ferraira, they take the game away in literally no time. You look at guys like AB de Villiers, they sort of constructed innings and shifted gears through the game. But these guys, they go from Ball 1. It’s dangerous to watch, it’s great to play with him. The future is bright when it comes to those types of players.”