Outcast Myburgh still keen to crack county cricket

Johann Myburgh was released by Hampshire at the end of the season
Johann Myburgh was released by Hampshire at the end of the season
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With more than 5,000 first-class runs, a career average higher than 43 and huge experience, Johann Myburgh could be forgiven for wondering why on earth he was a stalwart of the Hampshire second XI for most of the season.

After all, with the first team spiralling towards relegation from Championship division one, an older head to come in and bolster the batting line-up may not have been a bad guy to call on.

Yet, after joining before the 2011 campaign, the batsman’s season was effectively over as early as May after just nine first-team games.

That call to return to the first-team ranks simply never came.

For those who saw the 30-year-old shine for Hampshire in their Caribbean t20 tournament or impress in flashes during the early part of the domestic season, it became something of an ongoing mystery why Murburgh was seemingly a permanent fixture in the seconds.

And while the Pretoria-born batsman maintained a good relationship with manager Giles White, it counted for little as he looked back on a desperately disappointing season.

Myburgh said: ‘Possibly, they didn’t rate me because if they did, I would have played a bit more.

‘Having spoken to Chalks (White) quite often, I thought we had a good relationship and I have respect for him.

‘What I got from him was that he did think I was a good player, but he just told me I really didn’t fit into the team at that stage. It’s something I didn’t agree with.

‘By not agreeing with team selections or sometimes with the way the team played, it didn’t mean I had any less respect for any of the guys in charge.

‘That’s sport and that’s life.’

It seems odd that Myburgh – and bowler Friedel de Wet – were brought into the ranks and then cast aside so quickly.

With neither man having played in English conditions before, it should surely have been taken into account that they would need a period of time to adjust.

Myburgh said: ‘I don’t know what changed. It’s weird, really.

‘I would have liked to have been given more opportunities to play but that’s the way it worked out.

‘There are lots of things to get used to at a new team in a new country but I didn’t feel like a fish out of water.

‘You always look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself questions – I’m that type of guy.

‘Although I don’t think my form was horrible by any means and I contributed, I know from my past record that I didn’t play as well as I could have.

‘I got a lot of starts but didn’t convert them into big scores.

‘I thought I was in reasonable nick and it was a time when I had to adapt to county cricket for the first time.’

Myburgh, who lives in London with his wife, is keen to stay in England and get the chance to crack county cricket again.

And he believes he will be a better player for his Hampshire experience.

He said: ‘I believe that if I was here next season, I’m sure I could have contributed – not only on the field, but also because there is a very young team and I’ve got a lot of experience from playing all over the world.

‘I’m nearly 31 but I’m not done by any means. I believe I have a lot to offer.

‘Like any other sportsman, I have taken knock-backs before.

‘Wherever I play next, I feel I can contribute and I’m hoping to get another chance in England somewhere.

‘If I play against Hampshire in the future, it would be nice to put in a performance: not in a nasty way, but just to show people that I’m a good player.

‘I don’t think the people at the Rose Bowl saw the best of me. They only saw a few glimpses.’

While White has turned to youth to get his side promoted back to the top flight next year, Myburgh has his concerns.

He said: ‘I believe Jimmy Adams is the right captain but it will be difficult for him. I can’t remember ever seeing a squad as young anywhere I have played before.

‘Hampshire have a vision for the next couple of years.

‘That’s their decision and I wish them luck. I want them to do well.’