One of the three out-of-province signings the Dolphins have made in this off-season is the exciting Ruan de Swardt from Northerns, with the youngster ready to make his mark on franchise cricket next season.
De Swardt was born and bred in Pretoria, schooled at the prestigious Afrikaans Seuns Hoër (Affies) before playing his semi-professional cricket for Northerns. The change in scenery is a daunting challenge for the 22-year-old, however, he is relishing it.
‘I am very excited to start my life down in Durban even though it isn’t a place that I am too familiar with,’ De Swardt said.
‘I spent a bit of time down with the guys a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed the set-up. It was an environment where you work really hard but when you are away from cricket it is a very relaxed place. The guys were very welcoming and that’s always a good sign of a happy set-up.’
De Swardt’s statistics at a semi-professional level are more than impressive with a batting average of 55 in first-class cricket and 88 in List A cricket. Despite his obvious ability with the bat he wants to fill a bigger role in the team.
‘I want to take on that all-rounder role in the side. For me, I want to be the Ben Stokes of the South African team,’ he emphasised.
‘If I can pick up a yard of pace during the off-season then I will be in a better place to be a strong all-rounder and I am looking forward to working with Quinton Friend. Batting will be my main role and I would love to bat between four and six in the order and then bowl whenever needed.’
His move to the Dolphins was never one that he contemplated but having worked with Mduduzi Mbatha at Northerns the option of a move to KwaZulu-Natal then became available.
‘I never ever thought that I would be moving to the Dolphins to be honest but after I got a call from Duzi [Mbatha], who was our coach at the U19 provincial week, he asked me if I would consider the move,’ he added.
‘Imraan [Khan] then got in touch with me and made me the offer. It was then up to the Dolphins and the Titans to work it out from there. When it was confirmed I made the trip down to Durban and was encouraged by the set-up there and that got me excited.
‘I cannot wait to get going and I’m going to work as hard as I can when we get under way with our pre-season,’ he added in anticipation.
Photo: Gallo Images