PAARL - For the past six years, at St Stithians College, everyone who was willing to listen was told that Wiaan Mulder would go on to play for South Africa. That prophecy is about to be realised after the 19-year-old was called up to the Proteas one-day international squad on Tuesday.
All-rounder Mulder replaced Wayne Parnell in the squad for the remainder of the Bangladesh series after the Cape Cobras player was ruled out with a groin injury.
Like Parnell, Mulder was a schoolboy prodigy who captained his country at the ICC Under-19 World Cup. It was always a case of “when” and not “if” Mulder would graduate to the highest level.
However, not even the teenager’s greatest admirers would have placed a wager on the fact that it would take only 10 First Class and 11 List A matches for Mulder’s immense talent to be recognised.
“It is still a bit of a dream. It hasn’t really sunk in. I only got here three hours ago. It is an absolute dream to be joining the likes of AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla. They are legends and I am just going to do my best to be one of them one day,” Mulder said after rushing from Potchefstroom, where he was the nightwatchman for the Highveld Lions in their Sunfoil Series clash against the Knights.
“I got the call at about 3pm (Tuesday) afternoon. I didn’t go out to bat yet. The coach told me I would be replaced by someone else. It’s a funny feeling to know that you leaving, but it’s a great feeling to join the squad.”
It certainly has been a prolific rise, but one that has undoubtedly been merited. Not only has Mulder been prolific with ball and bat - he averages an astonishing 276 in the Sunfoil Series thus far this season - but he has also displayed the mental aptitude required to be successful.
“I would definitely say it has made me mentally tougher (maiden season of franchise cricket),” Mulder said. “Playing in that specific game, it was very important for me to come in and play an innings that would get us into a good position.
“I managed to do it somehow they came really hard at me. But I think that prepared me really well for this season because it has given me an idea of what to expect. It also made me realise I must just go out there and play because someone is going to win and someone is going to lose. It is a game of cricket.”