Former Wits student Nandre Burger has been called to play first class cricket for the Highveld Lions during the ongoing Sunfoil Series
CRICKET PLAYER, Nandre Burger is the latest Witsie to be selected to play professionally during the ongoing Sunfoil Series. The 22-year-old received his maiden call for the Highveld Lions, scheduled to play their next match on Thursday, March 15.
The former Wits student began playing cricket when he was four years old and says that playing during the Sunfoil Series is a goal that he had set for himself at the beginning of 2018. He enjoyed playing for Wits Cricket while studying for a BA Psychology and says it was a “die-for-each-other type team”.
“Wits was very well organised. We played against professional teams and they trained us like a professional team, which showed us where our game should be,” he says.
Another former Wits student and fellow Highveld Lions team member, Nono Pongolo, 28, states that the sporting programme at Wits has improved. “The programme has gotten a lot better in terms of the talent that is coming in and the people who have been pushing us,” he says.
During his time as a student Pongolo won the leading wicket taker which helped him bag a spot on the Highveld Strikers cricket team. He has been playing professionally for the Highveld Lions for three years and this is his third time playing in the Sunfoil Series.
Coach Garnett Kruger says that he has worked to instil a sense of discipline and responsibility in his players. “When I started coaching Wits Cricket, I was disappointed by how spoon-fed some of the players expected to be,” he says. Since then, he has worked to ensure that they take ownership for their role in the team and to grab the opportunities that have been made available to them. He believes that instilling these values in his players at this stage will ensure that they carry them throughout their careers.
Kruger says that seeing players he has coached progress to the Gauteng Cricket Academy and then to professional teams has been a “feather in his cap”. Burger and Pongolo join other former Witsies such as Pumelo Matshikwe and Eddie Leie in playing first class cricket.
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