• April Fool’s Day joke: Willem Alberts quits rugby for cricket

    You need to know the truth before midday, or the joke is on us. We feigned this as a legitimate story, in the name of April Fool’s Day. Thanks for being so gullible, or not falling for it at all…

    Springbok flanker Willem Alberts has quit a promising rugby career with immediate effect, to pursue a profession as a franchise cricketer.

    Alberts, capped 32 times at international level, was key to the start of the Sharks’ 2015 Super Rugby campaign – but has since been sidelined by a hamstring injury.¬†His final rugby Test match was June 2014’s 31-30 victory over Wales in Nelspruit.

    ‘This is going to come as quite a shock, probably, especially for the Sharks. But it’s rather obvious that cricket places less strain on the body – and Willem really does have the skills required in cricket to get to the top level, or more or less the top level,’ said a source close to the 30-year-old Alberts.

    ‘He isn’t earning the money he’d like in rugby either and, with the lucrative nature of the Indian Premier League in cricket, there might be an opening for him. Even if it’s only eventually, Willem is prepared to be play hard and be patient. He is looking into getting the best personal coaches to help him get to where he wants to go.’

    The burgeoning all-rounder opened the bowling when the Springboks clashed with the Proteas in a limited-overs showpiece at the Wanderers in late 2014. He bowled three economical overs Рand later struck a brisk 24 not out in a surprise victory for the Boks. He was particularly fruitful against spin bowler Robin Peterson, hitting consecutive sixes in the final over of the tightly-fought fixture.

    Nine months prior, Alberts removed the hard-hitting Quinton de Kock and Henry Davids with successive deliveries, but was denied a hat-trick by the defiant JP Duminy – in a similar exhibition match against the national cricket team at Newlands.

    Inspired by the riches and success earned by Royal Challengers Bangalore recruit David Wiese, Alberts is believed to be in talks with the Titans, who are also allegedly toying with recruiting former Test and ODI captain Graeme Smith too.

    While Smith’s potential return is currently mere hearsay, Wiese’s services were bought by Bangalore for a whopping R5.4million at the IPL player auction in February.

    ‘An IPL contract is firmly in Willem’s ambition, but he has to get runs and wickets on the board at home first. If it’s at the Titans, great. If it’s with another franchise, so be it – and eventually it will probably be for Bangalore, the Delhi Daredevils, Chennai Super Kings or whoever,’ added the source.

    ‘Remember All Black winger Jeff Wilson? He played cricket and rugby for New Zealand. I’m just saying, there is room for plenty of versatility in this modern era of professional sports.’

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