Vryheid cricketer named CSA Rural Cricketer of the Year 2017 – Hard work the key to Duvan’s success

Dean Elgar with Duvan Grobbelaar, who was awarded CSA 2017 Rural Cricketer of the Year last Saturday.

“TALENT brings you a certain way,” says Duvan Grobbelaar. “Add hard work to that and you have a recipe for success…”

Last Saturday, Vryheid High School teacher and avid cricketer, Duvan Grobbelaar, backed up this profound statement by being named Cricket South Africa’s 2017 Rural Cricketer of the Year at the prestigious ‘CSA Breakfast Awards’ ceremony where the stars of development cricket, over the past 12 months, were honoured in a grand ceremony at the Inanda Club in Johannesburg.

“Just keep working hard, back your abilities and enjoy every moment that you can play,” says Duvan Grobbelaar.

We asked Duvan if he felt that an award of this nature carries a lot of responsibility with it.

“Yes,” he responded. “I think it does.

Being a teacher, I think it is important to carry your knowledge across and, as a player, to work even harder to keep your standards up there with the top players. Then, of course, there’s the dream of getting a contract.”

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Duvan and Dale Steyn.

The cricket bug bit early in Duvan’s case, and he recalls early days, before primary school, playing cricket in the yard with his father. His talent on the pitch was easily recognisable when he started primary school and, in grade 1, was already at a level that saw him playing ‘hardball cricket’ with the grade 4’s.

“Mr Jonker was still my coach at NRS,” he recalls fondly. “I just really enjoyed the sport and it grew from there.”

Growing up, he developed an admiration for players like the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis, modelling himself on Kallis’ exemplary batting style and taking his cue from the wicket-keeping style of Adam Gilchrist.

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Duvan with Hashim Amla.

“I think cricket nowadays is a lot more available to the public,” he states. “In the current era, guys like AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and David Warner would be the players who inspire me.”

And speaking of inspiration, we asked Duvan if he felt that this award offers him a platform to inspire the next generation of young and aspiring cricketers, bearing in mind that, as a teacher, he is already somewhat accustomed to being a role model to young minds in the classroom.

“I think so,” he replied. “I mean, if being able to prove that hard work pays off and that even us guys from small towns can make it big, I would definitely say so. We have a slightly longer route to go,” he adds, “but all the hard work is definitely worth it.”

Duvan Grobbelaar in action on the cricket pitch.

Duvan excels both with bat in hand and behind the wicket, putting a lot of work into both. He makes every effort to be a team player on and off the pitch.

“I enjoy helping the youngsters,” says the 27-year-old Vryheid High English teacher, “and giving them advice whenever I can.”

It is perhaps safe to assume that teaching is in Duvan Grobbelaar’s blood, as his passion for moulding young minds clearly extends from the cricket pitch to the classroom and he has found a way to incorporate both aspects into his career.

“I wanted to become a sports physiotherapist,” he recalls, when asked how he got into teaching. “But I didn’t really enjoy Biology much, so I went into teaching with the ability to coach. The subjects I teach are English Main Language and Movement Sciences.”

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How does he motivate his students to be the best they can be?

“I try to inspire them to back their own abilities and to believe in what they have and can achieve. Hard work is a key factor to reaching success…”

Words to live by and Duvan does exactly that, practising precisely what he preaches on and off the pitch.

“Cricket can put you through tough times,” states Vryheid’s very own award-winning cricketer. “But staying positive and backing yourself helps a lot.”

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Duvan with AB de Villiers.

Duvan’s great achievement is the result of a lifetime of dedication and hard work and his message to other aspiring young cricketers who would like to follow suit is simple yet profound: “Just keep working hard, back your abilities and enjoy every moment that you can play.”

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Duvan with Faf du Plessis.

Elaine Rodway

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