• Middle-class hero – upper-class ambition

    Cape Cobras wicketkeeper-batsman Kyle Verreynne is a mere two seasons into a burgeoning franchise career – and must graduate to even higher honours sooner or later, writes Jonhenry Wilson.

    Tuesday’s maiden List A century in victory over the Knights at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein displayed the cool, calm and collection required in pursuit of staunch targets.

    Untroubled by the pace and bounce generated by fast bowler Marchant de Lange, thorough in milking seamer Ryan McLaren for straightforward singles and quick to punish leg-spinner Eddie Leie’s errant lengths, Verreynne was imposing throughout.

    Unlike brisk centuries struck by, say, Lions opener Reeza Hendricks or Dolphins veteran Vaughn van Jaarsveld earlier in the tournament, Verreynne’s was workmanlike, gathered at a steady rate fitting of conditions and circumstance. It was workmanlike, not forced, although the tempo was increased by appropriate measure as the ratio between runs required and deliveries remaining drew tighter.

    Graduation to three figures was a relief for the player and fans, who witnessed five half-centuries – but no tons – during the 2018-19 4-Day Franchise Series. Two weeks ago, 84 in a One-Day Cup defeat to the Warriors at Boland Park in Paarl suggested Verreynne’s inability to convert half-tons to centuries was going to continue, but Tuesday’s 114 not out thankfully proved otherwise.

    June 2017’s comparisons to Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock were misguided and premature, but effectively gestured to a future that has Verreynne usurping other pretenders in the pecking order. While the Titans’ Heinrich Klaasen remains de Kock’s understudy, the Knights’ Rudi Second and Lions’ Mangaliso Mosehle have arguably lost ground to Verreynne. Age and popularity-wise, the Warriors’ Sinethemba Qeshile and Gihahn Cloete – and the Knights’ Keegan Petersen – are probably his biggest competitors, if at all.

    Verreynne is a well-balanced, mature 21-year-old who possesses character and cricketing traits evidently destined for greater career heights. The humble graduate of celebrated middle-class institutions Wynberg Boys’ High School and Cape Town Cricket Club is, indeed, gradually forging upper-class honours.

    Photo: Johan Pretorius | Gallo Images

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    Jonhenry Wilson