Cricket: Dismissal hurts but van Wyk keeps on

By Anendra Singh

Some players have an air of expectancy about them merely by their presence in a team.

Kruger van Wyk is one of those players who exudes that quality regardless of whether he slips on the wicketkeeper or batsman's gloves in a game of cricket.

His stubbornness in occupying the batting crease to eke out runs in a game of patience for the Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags perhaps epitomises that best.

With the Black Caps not needing his services for the South Africa tour, it's not unusual for CD fans to expect him to bring any momentum he built into the Stags' domain as they begin a slow start to the HRV Cup Twenty/20 domestic campaign.

His input may look somewhat sketchy but, in fairness to the Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay cricketer who is entitled to say any suggestion otherwise is "rubbish", it probably has more to do with his absence than his performance.

Van Wyk has, after all, played only one T20 game for CD this summer before playing against the Canterbury Wizards today from 2pm at Saxton Oval, Nelson, which is ironically, an "away" match, one would guess because the New Zealand Provincial A tournament is under way at Lincoln, Christchurch, while the Canterbury Magicians are hosting the Central Districts Hinds women's domestic women's team for three days at Mainpower Oval, Rangiora, in the outskirts.

It was in the 53-run loss against the Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve on Boxing Day when Luke Woodcock bowled the No6 for a first-ball duck with two overs to play in the rain-reduced 18-over affair.

In last Saturday's first T20 victory, a 43-run one at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, this summer in four matches, Van Wyk didn't bat.

He was away in Sri Lanka with the New Zealand team but, in the four-day Plunket Shield competition, he contributed 20 runs against Wellington in the first innings and 25 in the second dig, again falling prey twice to Woodcock.

In the away first-class match against the Firebirds at Karori Park, Wellington, early last month, he scored 17 runs before Mark Gillespie had him feathering one to wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, while James Franklin rattled his stumps for 41 runs in the second dig.

Having played nine consecutive tests for New Zealand, selectors dropped Van Wyk in favour of fellow South African-born BJ Watling, of Northern Districts.

"It's been very disappointing but that's part of life," says the player who will turn 33 on February 7 after becoming a father early last month when wife Zenandi gave birth to their son, Gerard.

Needless to say, Gerard is a healthy baby and "gets his good looks from his mother", he clarifies, adding it's great to embrace fatherhood although Zenandi was very good in supporting him enhance his playing career.

Van Wyk intends to keep his head down to do what he does best for CD but, it seems, the missed opportunity to tour his country of birth with perhaps the latest addition to the clan, where his parents and relatives still live, cannot be erased that easily.

"You can't plan these things. When it happens, it happens," he says ambiguously.

"You can't get too down on it because the sun comes up and it's a new day again."

On the foundation of a good win against deposed table-topping ND Knights on Boxing Day, the Alan Hunt-coached side have their tails up with six matches remaining to make the cut in a season when the third-placed team will have a semifinal berth, too.

Van Wyk is banking on the old cliche of taking that momentum into today's clash at Nelson, which is offering better weather than in previous seasons.

Asked what spurs a team to victory as they stare straight into the barrel of defeat, Van Wyk says desperation: "It had a part to play in it after three losses."

The Gary Stead-coached Wizards, who are dead last and yet to claim a point, will be equally desperate, with former CD players George Worker and Brendon Diamanti in the mix as they play on Thursday again at the same venue.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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