That elusive Proteas debut is close for Nandre Burger as India opener looms

Nandre Burger of Western Province during the CSA One Day Cup 2023/24 game between Western Province and Gbets Rocks at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town

Nandre Burger has been patiently waiting for his return to the Proteas setup, and will be hoping to make his selection count in the limited overs series against India which starts on Sunday with the first T20I in Durban. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Dec 7, 2023


Many young players make the mistake of focusing on the next step and not what’s right in front of them.

Even more so when they’ve had a taste of international cricket and are desperate to get back to that elite level as soon as possible again.

But that’s not how Nandre Burger, who was recalled to the Proteas limited-overs squads this week, has approached his career.

The Western Province left-arm seamer had his first call up to the Proteas team back in 2021 for the tour to Pakistan.

So close, yet so far

Burger, though, had to be content with running the drinks for the duration of the tour without being afforded a debut.

This situation would have broken the spirit of most players, and even more so Burger, after he was later struck down by a couple of injuries, which further stalled his momentum.

But still Burger did not let up. He continued working hard in getting his body in the best possible physical shape and focusing solely on playing for Western Province.

The clear-mindedness in his approach has reaped the rewards with Burger consistently the fastest new-ball bowler in the domestic circuit.

His express pace has seen Burger wreck havoc during the opening Powerplay and also strike regularly with the red ball in Cricket SA’s 4-Day competition.

He was particularly impressive in the recent One-Day Cup where he finished as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 14 scalps in just seven matches at an average of 19.78.

Burger’s heroics helped Western Province to their first domestic championship title in eight years.

Sizzling Burger difficult to ignore

Proteas coaches Rob Walter (T20I and ODI) and Shukri Conrad (Test) could therefore not ignore Burger’s red-hot form any longer with the southpaw selected across all three formats for the looming India tour to South Africa.

“I think obviously all the work we do in the pre-season is coming to the fore. It helps that our roles are clearly defined here at Western Province, which has certainly helped me to have greater clarity in what I am trying to accomplish,” Burger explained.

“It certainly is the most comfortable I have felt in a team environment. The body feels strong. I have had unlucky injuries, things which you almost can’t control.

“I play for Western Province, and I want to do well for Western Province. That’s the mindset I approach things with.

“I don’t think there is a secret. I have a had a couple of injuries in the recent past, so now I just stay true to myself and give the best version of myself.”

Burger is, though, ready for the next challenge and is eager to begin his international career with the Proteas.

“Yes, as a cricketer you always dream about it, but I wouldn’t say I wake up every morning and get to the field to impress the national team coaches.

“But it is a massive privilege and honour, I am looking forward to the environment and seeing  what I can learn.”

Burger will be hoping to finally make his international debut when the Proteas face off against India in the first T20I on Sunday at Kingsmead.


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