DURBAN - HAVING three older brothers who loved and played provincial cricket for Natal, was the reason Elvis Govender dedicated his life to the gentleman's game.
Govender, 58, of Bayview, Chatsworth, said his fondest sporting memory was when he and his siblings represented the non-racial Natal team against Western Province in an inter-provincial match at Cape Town's Athlone Stadium in 1980.
“We, unfortunately, lost the game but having all of us play together meant the world to me. From playing in our backyard, we went on to represent the province at such a high level. Growing up, we never thought this would be possible."
His brothers are Krish (now 67), Stanley (60), and Raymond (passed away at age 55).
Govender said he started playing the sport at age 11 in Bayview and a few months later, he become a scorekeeper for the Chatsworth United cricket team.
"My brothers played for them. It was only when I was in high school, at Protea Secondary in 1976, that I joined the club as an all-rounder. I was 16 at the time."
Due to his stellar performance at school and club level, he was later rewarded with a place in the non-racial Natal High School team in 1977.
He said at 17, he claimed 8 wickets for 40 runs during a match against their Gauteng opponents. This, Govender added, remained his best bowling figure throughout his career.
Two years later, he joined the Natal B team, before being promoted to the A team at age 20 - as an opening bowler and batsman.
He said he top scored with 179 runs against Clairwood Old Boys at the Chatsworth Stadium.
“Captaining the Natal team and Chatsworth United at age 21, was a real achievement and it was good to see the coaches trusting me at such a young age.”
Govender retired from active cricket at age 43 and moved into management and coaching positions.
“While still a player I became the vice-president of Chatsworth United at the age of 42 and served for five years, and thereafter I took up a job with KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union as a development coach, which I still do up until today."
Govender is married to Rookmoney and they have three children and two grandchildren.