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February 10, 2009
The name Jan Stander may not mean much to South Africans, but in Scottish cricket it has caused no shortage of consternation. Stander, 27, has become the latest African-born player in the Scotland contingent as they prepare for next month's crucial World Cup Qualifiers in Johannesburg.
"It was definitely a surprise for me," Stander told Scotland on Sunday."I did feel I had to prove a lot because I didn't play for the A side last year. It's a good thing there's pressure because I think one of my strengths is thriving under it. I definitely felt it sub-consciously because a lot of people have their opinions on foreign players turning out for other countries."
Stander, who is not eligible for a British passport until 2011, joins Ryan Watson and Dewald Nel as one of Scotland's African contingent, but the man himself has no concerns over his allegiances.
"I came to Scotland as an amateur in 2003 and 2004," said Stander, who is to marry his Scottish fiancée this summer. "If it had been my aim to come here and represent the country, then I would have made sure I stayed for 186 days of the year. Because then I would have qualified two years ago. I stayed here because I liked the country. There was nothing to go back to in South Africa. I was given the opportunity in coaching here and I've been loyal.
"The fact that I can speak the mother tongue might help us getting some information from local people there. It will be my first tournament and the key for me is to focus on my own game and performing if I get the opportunity."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge