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Back You are here: Home Sports Cricket Other Cricket: Niel Durow- A Double Deal?
Friday, 02 October 2015 00:00

Cricket: Niel Durow- A Double Deal?

Written by  Jaco Zeeman

Niel Benjamin Durow, better known to his peers as “Niela”, is a grade 12 student at the universally respected Grey College in Bloemfontein. However, this isn’t the only “grey” area of his life. At this stage of the multi-talented sportsman’s career it is not a question of “if he will make it”, but rather “in which sport he would make it.”

Many well-respected coaches that have had the privilege of working with Niel have all sang from the same hymn book, stating that they believe he has the ability to become a professional cricketer or rugby player, whichever sport he finally decides to specialise in.

Niel is an all-rounder that bats in the middle order for his school and bowls a tidy spell of right-arm medium pace. He started playing, like most youngsters, in our grass-root mini- cricket programme, but fondly recalls playing on the family farm in Clocolan with his brother, Carl and recalls his dad throwing balls to them. Niel describes himself as: “a very shy person that works very hard in everything I do and believe I can never give less than my best.”

The 17-year-old cites his dad as being the most influential person in his cricket career thus far, always willing to throw balls when Niel is keen to practice. Niel also mentions the input of First team technical consultant, Johan Volsteedt and first team coach Andre Bester, adding: “I am very thankful for all their help and both have had a significant impact on my cricket. They have always been positive and helped all of us to remain positive. They put in a lot of hours and are always willing to give extra throw downs or extra sessions to whoever needs it.”

Niel’s short-term and long-term goals have both received very careful consideration. “My short term goals are to score big runs at the National U17 Cricket Week and next year I'd like to score over a 1000 runs in a season for my school” said the rising young star. He also added: “I'm not sure which sport I will end up playing over the long-term, but it will either be cricket or rugby while I try to obtain an Engineering degree.”

Unsurprisingly Niel’s favourite cricketer is world-renowned batsman AB de Villiers. Niel believes AB’s “never give up” attitude and his 100 percent commitment to every situation is what has seen him become so successful and admired all over the globe. Academically Niel achieves excellent results and averages 80% for his subjects. Niel’s hobbies are fishing, hunting, motorbike riding and he loves farming when he is back at home! His favourite movie is “Facing the Giants” and he occasionally enjoys a KFC meal.

Niel first made his debut for Grey College’s 1st XI at the end of his grade 9 year back in 2012. At the end of that season he represented the Free State U15 side at the National U15 Week. The following year saw him selected for the Free State U17 side, a tournament that he performed well in, scoring half-centuries against Western Province and the KZN Coastal team. Niel’s ever-growing reputation was echoed by numerous invitations to attend various National Talent Camps, but he has never been able to attend these due to his rugby commitments. Niel’s highest score is 118, but more impressive was his 15 ball fifty he scored earlier this year in the early rounds of the National T20 Competition. He regularly scores runs at a high tempo. This was evident during this season when he smashed a 23-ball 50 against Affies and a 33-ball 51 against Selborne College. His highest score for this season was a well-played 80 against a respectable St. Andrews side.

Despite achieving so many accolades in cricket, Niel’s exploits in rugby cannot go unmentioned. Many believe he will don the famous number 9 Free State Craven Week jersey and his track record doesn’t falter this theory. In 2013, Durow played for the Free State U16 side in the Grant Khomo Week and did not do his reputation any harm.

Well-respected former Headmaster, First team coach and current First team technical consultant at Grey College, Johan Volsteedt echoes the sentiments about the talented cricketer: “He is a very positive, aggressive batsman and is a very skilled fielder and bowler. He is a strong team man that also possesses leadership skills.” Volsteedt believes Niel’s strengths are his positive mind-set, self-belief and makes a particular mention of the: “key role he plays as a motivator of others.”

Niel’s First team coach, Andre Bester believes Niel is a good leader on the sports field, as well as in school. He also added: “he is a great player to have around any team, because he always lifts the team spirit.” When asked to describe Niel in one word or phrase, Bester responded: “overflowing with talent.” Bester believes Niel is a confidence player, adding: “once he has confidence he can change the outcome of the match with bat or ball.” When asked about the future of his star batsman, Bester replied: “It is not always easy to manage players that are exceptional in two sporting codes. We try our best to accommodate the players to excel in both, because they are still on the path to discover their own abilities and it is our responsibility to make sure that each player makes the correct choice with regard to a professional career. One thing is for sure, he definitely has the potential to make it as a sportsman.”

What would as cricketer be without a superstition or two? Niel has a lucky pair of underwear that he uses. When asked to explain how the superstition works, he replied: “I have a lucky pair of underwear that I use for matches, but if I don't do well in it on the day then I'll throw it away and use a new pair until I do well again. That pair then becomes my lucky pair.” Niel also says he has a strong belief in using new kit straight away in matches without practising in them first, as he believes he has always done well when doing so.

Niel has performed admirably for his school this year, averaging 42, 50 with the bat. This is no mean feat considering the number of T20 cricket they have played this year. It is clear that he is a multi-talented sportsman that has received a solid foundation at Grey College which has given him the platform to excel in sport. His sporting exploits has seen him capture the attention of not only S.A. School Sport, but also the various selectors of the Provincial teams and National camps. We look forward to seeing how Niel’s career unfolds as he continues to impress on both the cricket and rugby field.

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