Many of the Proteas’ top stars were shipped straight off to the IPL after the culmination of the World Cup. While they earn millions playing cricket’s shortest format of the game, the rest were left behind. One of them is Farhaan Behardien, who is enjoying the off-season after an extremely busy period for both club and country.
‘I am putting my feet up. I needed a mental break after the very satisfying ten months I had,’ said Behardien.
‘We played five One Day Internationals and three T20-Internationals in about 20 days against the West Indies, and then we were off to the World Cup traveling extensively [in Australia and New Zealand] for two months.’
The Titans all-rounder played a bit-part role in the Proteas path to the semi-finals. He featured in their opener against Zimbabwe and struck 64 not out against the UAE, but his role as a No 7 Batsman and back-up bowler meant his opportunities to make a genuine impact were limited.
His role with the Titans last season however was far more significant, albeit in sporadic doses due to the international commitments. While they didn’t achieve any success in the Momentum One Day Cup or the Sunfoil Series, he made telling contributions for the side in both. He averaged 229 from his five one-day matches with a top score of 105 not out, while he struck five fifties from his four Sunfoil Series matches at an average of 78.66.
It was a season which got off to a fantastic start thanks to his performances for South Africa A against Australia A, as he struck a century in the second unofficial test between the sides. He was happy with the mental shift he made to focus on his four-day batting skills, and it has given him the confidence to aim to represent the Proteas in the five-day format.
‘Looking after my four-day technique and approach benefited my one-day game as well,’ he said. ‘This coming season my philosophy will be similar. My next goal is to represent South Africa in a Test match. Whether I succeed or fail, it won’t change my goal to play for South Africa in the longest format and to become the best that I can be.’
At the age of 31, the aim is an ambitious one, and his in-and-out role with the Proteas in the shorter game won’t be enough to get potential selectors interested ahead of the two-match Test series against Bangladesh in July. What might worry him further is the fact that he hasn’t scored a century in the Sunfoil series since December 2011, in a season which the Titans went onto win.
He was in the frame not so long ago as a potential replacement for the injured JP Duminy in their side’s three match Test series against the West Indies, and his ability to bowl tidy spells helped his cause, but Stiaan van Zyl ultimately got the nod. The subsequent form of Van Zyl, the return of Duminy and the emergence of Rilee Rossouw has seen him plummet down the pecking order. He will have to keep up the form he showed glimpses of last season in order to get back on the radar again.