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Didn’t want to be a cricketer, game was a free way to study, says Nandre Burger
By SMCS - Mar 29, 2024 10:00 am
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South African left-arm pacer Nandre Burger shared that he never wanted to be a cricketer but he took the game as a way to pursue education without a financial burden. Back in 2014, a cricket selection trial helped him to gain admission at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), where he secured a full scholarship to delve into psychology as well. Since then, Burger, now 28, has embraced his cricketing journey pretty well.

Lungi Ngidi
Nandre Burger

“Sounds strange, right. WITS offered a scholarship for those who played cricket. I thought it was cool. I didn’t want to be a cricketer, but I was getting a free way to study, so I thought, why not? Cricket was actually my back-up to academics (laughs),” Nandre Burger told ESPNcricinfo.

“I laughed it off at first. I was like, ‘Man, I bowl at 125kph. I can’t do this for a living. I’ve seen guys bowl 145kph.’ Neil would have none of that. I said to him, ‘Okay, I’ll give this a go.’ And within a few weeks, I was excited to train. I’d miss classes to be at training, wanting to work batters over,” Nandre Burger said. “Then I got the chance to be a net bowler at the franchise team in Jo’burg – Highveld Lions. I’d always played cricket in the backyard with friends and parents, but wouldn’t say I ever had the desire to be a professional.”

However, Burger has played in two Tests, three ODIs, and a T20 International for South Africa, scalping 11, 5, and 1 wicket respectively. In just his second ODI last December in Gqeberha, he secured figures of 3 for 30, contributing significantly as South Africa bowled out India for 211 as well.

“As I walked off the field, Pommie (Mbangwa) and Shaun Pollock were like, ‘Well bowled, and congrats,’ and I’m thinking, congrats for taking three wickets? Congrats for bowling ten overs? It wasn’t even my debut, so I’m confused. I go in, change and come back down again,” he said.

“Shaun was like, ‘I’m sure you’re so excited.’ I still didn’t get it, so I said, ‘Yeah, it’s cool, I think I got my first (ODI) wicket, so it’s a great feeling.’ Then he’s like, ‘No man, I mean for the IPL. You’re going to play for Rajasthan Royals’. Everyone was saying ‘Congratulations’ and I was oblivious to what was happening. After the game, when I put my phone on, all I read was ‘congrats, congrats, congrats’ and ‘well done, well done’. I didn’t know if it was for the game or IPL,” he concluded.