Martin van Jaarsveld
June 18, 1974, Klerksdorp, Transvaal
Right hand bat
Right arm medium, Right arm offbreak
A top-order batsman for Northerns, van Jaarsveld knocked long and hard on the South African selectors' door before eventually being given his chance against Bangladesh in 2002-03. His previous summer's first-class campaign - five centuries and 1268 runs at an average of 74.58 - simply could not be ignored. After a handful of Tests and one-dayers, however, he never really showed the skill, talent and temperament that made him one of the most respected batsmen on the South African domestic scene and, latterly, a Kent stalwart.
A player of sound technique and steely determination who makes full use of an adequate range of orthodox strokes, van Jaarsveld has a healthy conversion rate of turning half-centuries into hundreds. He was coached by his father throughout his school career, toured Sri Lanka with South Africa A in 1998-99, and is among the finest slip fielders in South Africa. He joined Kent as a Kolpak player in 2005 and successfully filled the void left by Ed Smith's departure, regularly topping 1000 runs. In 2008 he enjoyed a prolific season in four-day and one-day cricket, finishing as the PCA Player of the Year.
He never quite touched the same heights again, but remained a steady middle-order component of a Kent side that has struggled to assert itself in recent years. One of the team's elder statesmen, van Jaarsveld has committed himself to the county until at least 2012.
Neil Manthorp September 2011
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