Domestic news July 20, 2007

Myburgh heads to Canterbury

Johannes Myburgh has moved to Canterbury © Getty Images

Batsman Johannes Myburgh has joined the ever-growing band of South Africans plying their trade for Canterbury in New Zealand domestic cricket. Myburgh has been feeling constrained by the lack of opportunities with the Titans.

He told CricInfo on Friday he was emigrating to New Zealand with the goal of playing for the Black Caps, for whom he will qualify in three years.

The former Titans coach Dave Nosworthy and ex-Northerns wicketkeeper/batsman Kruger van Wyk are both in Canterbury and Myburgh will join them having failed to win a place in the Titans team that won the four-day SuperSport Series in emphatic style.

Myburgh, 26, was a batting prodigy at school in Pretoria and he broke Graeme Pollock's record for the youngest scorer of a double century in South African first-class cricket as a 17-year-old in 1997/98.

But the attention probably didn't do him any good and he has never really kicked on, although playing for a franchise with a host of young batting stars hasn't helped.

"I've played well in the limited-overs games over the last couple of years, but I haven't got a chance in the four-day games, which has been my main frustration," was Myburgh's line of reasoning for his move.

"Dave Nosworthy was a former coach of mine, he knows what sort of player I am and it was him who phoned me to ask how my cricket was going and he said there might be a possibility of me joining Canterbury."

Myburgh averages 41.77 in his 48 first-class matches, is an occasional off-spinner and a good fielder. A top-order batsman, he could be very useful for a Canterbury side that has lost Nathan Astle to retirement and could be without Craig McMillan and Michael Papps on international duty.

"I'm always looking to gain experience, widen my base, both on and off the field, where I'm studying Commercial Science to try and become a journalist," said Myburgh. "Canterbury have given me a good opportunity which I'm grateful for and hopefully I can do well for them and qualify for the New Zealand team."

Van Wyk, who has been a friend of Myburgh's since their days of fierce competition in inter-school matches for Afrikaans Boys' High (Van Wyk) and Pretoria Boys' High (Myburgh), has proved to be a signing coup for Canterbury and was in particularly inspired form as a finisher in limited-overs cricket.

"It will be easier to settle in having Dave Nosworthy there because I know his coaching style. And I've known Kruger for a long time. He's done very well, superbly in the one-dayers, because he's a good player and he works hard."

Myburgh and Van Wyk will leave Pretoria together on September 27 for New Zealand and following Van Wyk looks like a good idea for Myburgh because the move has certainly done no harm to the wicketkeeper's career.

Ken Borland works for MWP news agency in South Africa