CAPE TOWN – Often, due to the political climate in South Africa, there is a feeling that certain sections of the country’s population no longer have a future playing the game of cricket.
It was certainly then refreshing listening to Anrich Nortje in terms of cricket remaining accessible to all communities. The 26-year-old fast bowler hails from a modest family in Uitenhage - 26 kilometres from St George’s Park - where he attended Handhaaf Primary and Brandwag High School.
Neither of these institutions rank among the ivy league of schools in the Eastern Cape where Grey High School, Selbourne College (East London), St Andrews (Grahamstown) dominate the cricket landscape. In fact, Nortje is the first national cricket player produced by his alma mater.
But like every other Eastern Cape boy, Nortje’s dreams of playing for the Proteas on his home ground St George’s Park - which he looks set to this week when the third Test gets underway against England tomorrow - began while watching his heroes from the grass banks.
“I am really excited to be playing here in Port Elizabeth. I used to sit here on the grass embankments and watch the games,” Nortje said.