From salesman to millionaire cricketer ... Proteas rookie Donovan Ferreira not taking anything for granted

Donavon Ferreira during his stint with the Joburg Super Kings hin the SA20. Picture: Sportzpics/SA20

Donavon Ferreira during his stint with the Joburg Super Kings hin the SA20. Picture: Sportzpics/SA20

Published Aug 27, 2023


A maiden call-up to the Proteas squad was “unexpected” for Titans and Rajasthan Royals batter Donovan Ferreira.

‘The Don’, as he is fondly referred to within the domestic circuit, has finally cracked the Proteas set-up for the three-match T20I series against Australia in Durban this week.

Ferreira’s selection follows a rise of note from the 25-year-old since he turned pro a few years ago.

Before that achievement, Ferreira had a nine-to-five job as a salesman.

In a country where a large percentage of the youth faces unemployment, Ferreira knew he was fortunate – but his heart was elsewhere.

All that time spent in the workforce taught Ferreira to appreciate being a professional cricketer and getting to do what he loves for a living.

“I enjoyed working, but I don’t want to go back there … and I know how it is to be there,” said Ferreira.

“That’s also a bit of motivation. When you’re not feeling great, you just remember those times where you had to sit at the office from nine to five – and if your boss is upset with you, you just had to take it.

“It’s been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, a lot of ups and downs where you’re upset with cricket, and then cricket comes back. Everything is working out. Everything is meant to be.”

Despite the wicket-keeper batter saying it is meant to be for his career to progress at the rate it has, he also emphasised that he was not expecting any of it.

From the Titans call-up, to the Indian Premier League and now the Proteas, Ferreira was expecting none of it to happen so quickly.

“I kind of had to stop playing cricket a few years ago to go work full-time, and then out of the blue, Mandla (Mashimbyi, the Titans coach) called me and said, ‘Listen, you need to come play’.

“So, everything so far in my career has happened out of the blue. I wasn’t expecting any of this. I wasn’t expecting this call-up, I wasn’t expecting the IPL, I didn’t expect the SA20 or the Titans call-up.

“So, that allows me to appreciate everything when it comes, because you don’t know when things are going to be taken away, and you never know when the next opportunity will come.

“I’ve since then had the mindset that each game I play and every time I get an opportunity, it could be my last. I’ve been cherishing each moment, and every changeroom I’m in, I try to make as many memories as possible.”

Understandably, the most cherished selection in his young career has been the one for the national side.

Ferreira feels it has come at the right time, when he has a good understanding of his game for him to be able to make the step up to international cricket.

“Anyone would be excited (to get a Proteas cap),” said Ferreira.

“I didn’t hear anything and I was on the way to the CPL (Caribbean Premier League), and Coach Rob called me at the airport and said, ‘Listen, you’re a part of the T20 squad against Australia’.

“It was a lot of mixed emotions. For me, there was excitement (in that) all your hard work paid off. It’s just that relief that you’ll hopefully play for your country. It’s just indescribable.

“I believe that everything happens when it’s supposed to happen. Once you start trying to control things, you just set yourself up for disappointment. I believe it came at a perfect time. I mean, what is a perfect time in actual fact? I’m happy that it came now. I feel my game is at a good place, and I’m at a good space with my cricket.

“Hopefully I get an opportunity and I take that with both hands.”

Ferreira stands a chance to get an international debut when the T20I series against Australia gets under way at Kingsmead on Wednesday.