23 Nov 1998

Terbrugge: Face of a new fast bowler

Trevor Chesterfield

Centurion (South Africa) - Two famous South Africa Test players of different eras and differing styles of play and a former New Zealand captain have played no small role in David Terbrugge's rags to riches climb this season. One was a batsman, the other a fast bowler.

Yet only the late Jackie McGlew, who enjoyed his position as coach and mentor to many South African schoolboys where he could pass on his knowledge spotted, as early as 1994, without pausing to think placed the tall, gangling Rand Afrikaans University student, in a test side in five years time.

Fanie de Villiers, forced out last season through a mixture of politics and transformation policy, has acted as an inspiration: his swing bowling sadly missed by South Africa in Australia and England; series in which his input would have made a major difference.

And Ken Rutherford, acknowledged in South Africa as a special type of captain and like most Kiwis, always willing to help a younger player with stories of past combats, lending his support and encouragement.

It was Rutherford who surprised Terbrugge at SuperSport Centurion on Sunday when he asked him to bowl a couple of final overs an hour after learning what could be the crucial place in the South African for the first Test against the West Indies at the Wanderers, played a joke on his Gauteng captain, and which caught the skipper by surprise.

It also had a couple of Gauteng's team management coughing in alarm as he pretending to "pull a hammy" when put on to bowl what were the dying overs of the SuperSport Series game against Northerns at Centurion Park..

Rutherford dashed across, concerned that the affable youngster had "caused a mischief" when he saw him double up laughing at the leg pull. All of which shows that the young man also has a sense of humour. And he admits he may need to call on that sense of humour when he makes his test debut at the Wanderers on Thursday.

As the third red-head in the squad, Brian Lara's tourists will be seeing a lot more red in the weeks to come than merely a ball being whipped passed their noses by the fast bowlers.

Terbrugge and his father, a geologist, a club player in his day and a dab hand at rugby as well, had been keeping in touch with events leading up to selection via email and news papers while working in the Maldives.

The hard-nosed view of Corrie van Zyl, the assistant coach of the South African side in England, that "if you are good enough you are old enough" possibly supports the views Terbrugge, after struggling with injury had arrived 12 months too soon for some, but at the right time for others. He is, after all, a natural line and length bowler of the sort which made Vintcent van der Bijl famous in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Yet just how much he owes his selection to the way he bowled South Africa's captain, Hansie Cronje, a couple of weeks ago with the second new ball is a debatable point. Gauteng were playing Free State in an A section game at Springbok Park when he decided to try something a little different". Just what he did to get rid of Cronje is likely to remain a secret: an ace in the copper-headed young man's swing and seam repertoire

"It's nice when something you try something and it works out. It was great batting deck and I had a few go away and then nipped one back and then bowled what is probably the best ball I have bowled all season.

"He looked down and then back at me and I though 'Gee, I may have dome something here."

While Cronje was on the receiving end Peter Pollock, the convener of selectors, was present. Later that day Cronje called Rodney Ontong, the Gauteng bowling coach, for comment and a little back ground.

Terbrugge's acceleration up the ladder may also explain why none of the senior selectors dropped in on Centurion Park to look at the alternative talent in Greg Smith and Steve Elworthy. It is then there is the feeling the selectors have already decided on the issue. Cronje has decide. After all, it is the side he has to lead, and although the selectors do not always give him what he wants, he has to stand or fall by his selection suggestions.

A final year B Com student at Rand Afrikaans University Terbrugge feels that from his days at Montrose Primary until now has been a step by step process and although he is the one who had to do all the hard work to get where he is now, there were any number of coaches who helped plot his career.

"I did not think I would play so much this season. I had a look at the schedule and saw that I had four-day games and thought I'd be able to have rest next weekend," he laughed.

Should he play Terbrugge expects to carry a heavy load, similar to that of Fanie de Villiers, with support from Jacques Kallis as his partner in swing. Terbrugge was not coy either in admitting that if he could fulfill the role left vacant by De Villiers he would be more than happy.

"Fanie . . . wow. He just got better with age. If I could do a little of what he did I'd be more than happy," Terbrugge added. "I'd love to be able to talk to him and get some insight on swing bowling."

Terbrugge's career was temporarily halted by a back injury when 18 in 1995 and was shipped home from the SA under/19 tour of England with a back injury. Yet McGlew, who once spent an afternoon talking to the gangling fast bowler, always felt he would emerge as a test bowler. "He is just too good a player to ignore and when he's fit again the selectors are going to have to take notice," McGlew said at the time.

Source: Trevor Chesterfield Cricket Writer, Pretoria News