Gareth Kyle Berg
January 18, 1981, Cape Town, Cape Province
Ice, Bergy, Ford
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
South African College School
A bustling, brisk seam bowler and middle-order batsman, Gareth Berg learned his cricket in South Africa, playing a handful of one-day games for Western Province B, before moving to live in England and pro on the club scene.
In 2004 he played for Northamptonshire 2nd XI without breaking into the first team, then in 2007 was signed by Middlesex at 26. In the 2008 pre-season he took five wickets against England Under-19s on his home ground at Radlett, gaining him his first-team debut. In 2011 his all-round ability helped Middlesex to win Championship promotion as he averaged 41.87 with the bat and 19.96 with the ball.
It was for Middlesex that he scored his last first-class hundred: 130 not out in the first innings of a match against Leicestershire in 2011 that secured the county's promotion to Division One. In the second innings, with 124 needed for victory, Berg smashed six, four, then six to seal victory. The moment was immortalised in a tattoo of three dice on his left forearm showing six, four, six. It supplemented a Batman tattoo on the same arm.
A year later, as if to emphasise that he was a singular man, he was representing Italy in the 2012 World T20 qualifiers through the Italian passport that helped bring him to the UK.
He continued to make valuable contributions with the bat and ball thereafter, impressing in all three formats of the game and topping 4,000 runs and 200 wickets overall for Middlesex. But a persistent shoulder injury restricted him to just one game in his final season. Middlesex then cancelled the remaining year of his contract.
His career seemed over but he approached his rehab with stiffened resolve, Hampshire took a punt on him and it paid off handsomely. Envisaged as a potentially useful addition, he exceeded expectations, being named the supporters' and players' player of the year as he scored 674 runs and took 43 wickets in first-class cricket. No innings was more striking than his first-innings 72 against Nottinghamshire in Hampshire's final match of the season as they guaranteed their Division One status in the Championship. He called his recovery "humbling". Surgery on a knee injury disrupted his 2016 season but he recovered to earn two further one-year deal.
Berg's combative spirit was valued by Hampshire, even if frustratingly he became a master of the 99 - his highest score for the county. He made one against Sussex in 2015 and again, two years later watched as last man Brad Wheal edged Joe Root to slip with 99 to his name against Yorkshire at the Ageas Bowl; he channelled his frustration into a four-wicket burst to wreck Yorkshire's top order.
He made the move to Northamptonshire towards the end of the 2019 season after falling out of Hampshire's first team, and also resurrected his international career by turning out for Italy in the CWC Challenge League. In early 2021, he became the national team's player-coach and recruited Kent's Grant Stewart to boost their T20 World Cup ambitions. At the age of 40, he remained a brisk, skilful seamer, taking the new ball for Northants in the Championship.
Batting & Fielding