Central Districts wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk is used to
playing the waiting game.
Six years ago, the South African-born right-hander left his
life in the Republic behind to move to New Zealand, knowing
he would have to stand down for four years before becoming
eligible for his adopted nation.
Northern Districts part-time wicketkeeper BJ Watling got the
nod ahead of van Wyk for the one-off test against Zimbabwe
recently but the diminutive 32-year-old has not given up hope
and has been demonstrating why he will be hard to leave out
for the opening test against South Africa in Dunedin next
Van Wyk guided Central Districts to a five-wicket win against
Otago in their Plunket Shield clash at the Queenstown Events
Centre with a superb undefeated innings of 74. He was also
undefeated in his first innings effort, batting beautifully
"I enjoyed it," he said. "It is nice to bring the side home
because that is what it is all about. I just want to do well
for the team.
"I've been working really hard on a couple of things and I
just want to keep pushing forward."
That hard work has certainly been paying off for van Wyk this
season. In six first-class games, he has scored 638 runs at
an average of 91.14.
"If I'm brutally honest, I would absolutely love to play for
New Zealand. It is the most important thing to me. But, at
the end of the day, it is probably out of my hands. All I can
do is score runs and keep fighting and hopefully an
opportunity will come my way."
Despite some pitiful batting late on Sunday when Otago lost
eight wickets for 26 runs, the Volts' prospects of escaping
with a victory were still evenly poised when Central
Districts resumed its second innings at seven for one. The
early departure of captain Jamie How certainly lifted the
home side's spirits.
How was one of three key wickets Otago would have singled out
as crucial, Mathew Sinclair and van Wyk being the others. How
was trapped in front by Warren McSkimming without adding to
the team's overnight score.
Sinclair eased some early nerves with a drive back down the
ground for two from his first delivery. But the senior
statesman never really looked established at the crease and
perished when he got an inside edge through to the keeper
from the bowling of Sam Wells.
Earlier, a brilliant piece of fielding from Michael Bracewell
accounted for Ben Smith. Derek de Boorder completed the run
out with a smart gather and swift removal of the bails.
Central had slumped to 55 for four and the momentum had swung
in Otago's favour.
But a flurry of boundaries from van Wyk and Kieran
Noema-Barnett put the pressure squarely back on the Otago
attack. The pair added 50 from just 48 balls and by lunch the
initiative had shifted again with Central 116 for four.
Van Wyk was savage on anything short, dancing around in his
crease and cutting the ball particularly well. He also
swivelled into some delightful pull shots.
Of all the batsmen on display, he looked to have the most
time and was able to play with more freedom than anybody
He had some solid support in Carl Cachopa, with the pair
sharing an unbroken stand of 78 for the sixth-wicket to seal
With a maximum of 80 points still on offer from the remaining
four games, technically Otago is not out of contention. But
with just 32 points - 48 points behind leader Northern
Districts - Otago's title prospects look slim.
Meanwhile, Wellington wrapped up a seven-wicket win over
Auckland at Colin Maiden Park yesterday to leapfrog the home
side into second in the standings, APNZ reports.
Leader Northern Districts, which beat last-placed Canterbury
by 134 runs in Rangiora, retains top spot on 80 points, with
Wellington on 63 and Auckland a further 10 points back with
four rounds remaining.
Auckland went into yesterday's final day still trailing by 83
runs with only four wickets in hand and was all out for 201
leaving Wellington two sessions to score the runs.
Former New Zealand seamer Mark Gillespie completed a
10-wicket haul for the match, the 32-year-old's first in 63
first class matches.
Northern Districts picked up the six wickets it needed to
defeat Canterbury in Rangiora yesterday to win by 134 runs.
Dan Vettori claimed his 31st first-class five-wicket bag.
The seventh round of matches gets under way on Friday.