South Western Districts bowler Herschell America turned plenty of heads as he topped the wicket-takers chart during the T20 Knock Out tournament in Kimberley.
America was one of the SWD heroes when the underdogs from the Southern Cape topped Pool A this past weekend and advanced to the knockout stages of the competition.
The 27-year old joins Gurshwin Rabie, Marcello Piedt, Glenton Stuurman, Francois Plaatjies and Otneill Baartman as bowlers who hail from Bridgton in Oudtshoorn and made their mark in professional cricket.
Dubbed ‘Captain America’ by former Proteas bowling icon Makhaya Ntini while doing TV commentary in Kimberley, America had a different rise to that of many professional cricketers, emerging from the club system and not the high-performance player pipeline.
Having never represented SWD at schools level, he climbed the ladder via his club Union Stars. In 2017, he started to make an impact on the club scene thanks to the guidance and encouragement from his mentor and teammate Marcello Piedt.
Soon after, then-SWD coach Baakier Abrahams invited him to their practices as a net bowler. The rest is history as he made his debut for SWD in the 2017-18 season and he has played 13 first-class and 20 List A matches.
With seven wickets America is the most successful bowler in the T20 Knock Out so far, yet the past weekend was his first stint in T20.
Like many successful sportsmen, there were turning points in his career and he mentions a hard discussion by Abrahams in April 2020 as his.
“That changed my mind about my approach to cricket and brought me back on track after I was at a stage where I took everything for granted,” he admitted.
Besides Piedt, who he is now keeping out of the starting XI, America also acknowledges the role that his grandmother, Henrika Daniels, played in his cricket career.
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