There is nothing overly ornate about Farhaan Behardien as a batsman, but he gets the job done.
That’s not to say that his lofted drive over extra cover is not a thing of immense beauty or skill, but he has become the banker for the Titans, producing the goods in the middle-order whether it be in four-day, 50-over or T20 cricket.
His amazing consistency and his nerveless finishing as the Titans claimed the MiWayT20 Challenge title caught the eye of national coach Gary Kirsten, who is reputed to have said: “Who does that?” when he saw Behardien’s stats of 333 runs at an average of 66.60 and a strike-rate of 143.53. The 29-year-old was not out in seven of his 12 innings.
Behardien made his international debut in a T20 match against India in March but he could so easily have slipped through the net had he stayed in Cape Town, with all its batting riches.
Having only played for Western Province B in Nuffield Week, Behardien spent three seasons playing sporadically for the Western Province amateur team before being sent to the National Academy in 2006.
It was there that Richard Pybus spotted him and Behardien soon had his first professional contract, with the Titans.
Cape Town is where the family is, FARHAAN BEHARDIEN having moved there when he was five, after being born in Johannesburg on 9 October 1983, but Centurion is where he has made his name.
A wiry, amiable fellow, Behardien wears the weight of pressure as a designated “finisher” well.
“Batting at the death, under pressure, is a job you have to love and I’ve grown to love it,” he says.
“It’s not easy, because it’s all-or-nothing, but I’ve grown to love that risk or reward aspect. I think it’s just a natural part of my temperament and character, I have a very high will to compete.”
While Pybus gave Behardien his break, it was Chris van Noordwyk who gave him extra responsibility by batting him higher up the order, while he has now fitted comfortably under the wing of Englishman Matthew Maynard, who guided the Titans to two titles last season and was a brilliant limited-overs player in his day.
“Matthew is vastly experienced, he was Duncan Fletcher’s assistant coach with England so he has been involved with so many great players. He has taught me to keep a calm head,” Behardien says.
The brilliant fielder and part-time medium-pacer was sent to Westerford High School in Cape Town, which is better known for its academics, so Behardien has had to fight for every bit of recognition, which will buttress him well against the vagaries of form and expectation as an international batsman.
“He’s someone who came through the hard school, it’s been a hard road to where he is. But that means that when you go to war, you take him with you. He’s a fantastic player, very consistent and I’m very impressed by him,” national selector Vinnie Barnes says.
Behardien’s morale has certainly never been dented by his slow rise to national colours.
“I’ve had to build up steadily and gain experience, but I’m not too disappointed that I had to wait a while. I’ve shown glimpses in the past of what I can do, but last season I had consistency.
“The experience will hold me in good stead and now every opportunity is just a chance to showcase my skills. I’ll keep working hard and keep knocking on the door with my performances.
“I’ve done the hard yards and I’ve got nothing against the process. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it!” Behardien says.