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SWD's ’Captain America’ pays tribute to former coach Baakier Abrahams

Herschell America of the Six Gun Grill SWD celebrates with teammates. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Herschell America of the Six Gun Grill SWD celebrates with teammates. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Sep 29, 2021


South Western Districts' (SWD) new bowling hero, Herschell America, turned plenty of heads as he rose to the summit of the wicket-takers chart after the completion of Pool A of the CSA Provincial T20 Knock-Out Competition.

The newly introduced competition kicked-off in Kimberley this past weekend. America was one of the SWD heroes when the underdogs from the Southern Cape topped Pool A and have now advanced to the knock-out stages of the competition.

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The 27-year old America, who like other bowlers that have made their mark as professional cricket players, like Gurshwin Rabie, Marcello Piedt, Glenton Stuurman, Francois Plaatjies and Otneill Baartman also hail from Bridgton in Oudtshoorn.

Dubbed Captain America, by former Proteas bowling icon Makhaya Ntini whilst doing television commentary in Kimberley over the weekend, America had a different rise to that of many professional cricket players and emerged from the club system – and not the high-performance player pipeline.

Having never represented SWD at schools’ level, he climbed the ladder via the club system for his club, Union Stars. In 2017, he started to make an impact on the club scene thanks to the guidance and encouragement from his mentor and teammate, Marcello Piedt. Soon thereafter then SWD coach, Baakier Abrahams, invited him to the SWD practices as a net bowler. The rest is history and in the 2017/18 season he made his debut for SWD where he played 13 first-class and 20 List A matches.

With seven wickets he is the most successful bowler in the T20 Knock-Out Competition so far, but the past weekend was his first stint at the T20 format of the game. Like many successful sportsmen there were also turning points in his career and significantly he mentioned a hard discussion by Abrahams in April 2020 as the turning point of his career.

“That discussion changed my mind about my approach to cricket and brought me back on track after I was at a stage where I took everything for granted," he admitted.

Besides fellow SWD player Piedt, who he is now keeping out of the starting eleven, he also admired the role of his grandmother Henrika Daniels in his cricket career.

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