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Ken Borland



Coetzee fully committed to getting best out of his talent, so move to Titans makes sense 0

Posted on April 05, 2023 by Ken

Gerald Coetzee impressed in his debut Test series against the West Indies this year.

Gerald Coetzee strikes one as a young cricketer who is fully committed to getting the absolute best out of his talent, so when his Free State Knights team were relegated at the end of the season, it was only natural that he should look elsewhere to further his burgeoning career.

The Northerns Titans, with whom he has now signed, are an ideal fit for the exciting fast bowler, being a team with a history of winning and a reputation for converting domestic talents into international stars. The Titans dominated the last decade of franchise cricket and they topped the Division I promotion/relegation log after the last two seasons.

The Proteas and their fans will also be delighted because the newly-capped Coetzee is too exciting a talent to be languishing in Division II.

The 22-year-old Coetzee played two Tests and two ODIs for South Africa in the season just finished, and proved himself to be a strike-bowler with 14 wickets. He is also a handy lower-order batsman.

“He’s an x-factor player, dangerous with the white ball and he will also really help us in the four-day competition,” Titans CEO Jacques Faul told kenborland.com. “He’s an exciting talent who has the kind of profile of young fast bowlers we have developed in the past – guys like Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi.

“With Lungi being contracted to the Proteas, we don’t get to see much of him in Titans colours, and Lizaad Williams too has spent time away with the national squad. So we need Gerald’s firepower as well,” Faul said.

Northerns Titans have also signed Free State opening batsman Matthew Kleinveldt, who fitted in well with the Knights after moving there in 2020 following 10 seasons in the Western Cape. In the last two seasons based in Bloemfontein, Kleinveldt has scored 692 runs at an average of 49.42.

With Theunis de Bruyn’s future in doubt and Heinrich Klaasen likely to be away with the Proteas for much of next season, it makes sense for the Titans to beef up their batting, an area where they also looked a bit light on experience at the end of last season.

The movement of Coetzee and Kleinveldt to Northerns is important because it also ensures two of the Knights’ better players still have a place in Division I cricket. With its strong schools and university, Free State is an important area of talent in terms of the national pipeline and their relegation to Division II is not good news for South African cricket as a whole. Especially since it is KZN Inland who are replacing them in the top division, meaning there are two teams from KwaZulu-Natal, based less than 100km apart, now playing in the A Section.

Of the Knights’ other players of national interest, Raynard van Tonder, so prolific with the bat a couple of seasons ago, is moving to the North-West Dragons, where he will definitely bolster a fragile batting line-up. Pace bowler Migael Pretorius, however, is believed to have turned down contracts elsewhere and will be playing as a free agent, which probably means he will be heading overseas to play in T20 leagues.

The 36-year-old Pite van Biljon, who was playing T20s for South Africa in 2021, is heading to Pietermaritzburg to play for the KZN Inland Tuskers, one of the few signings they will be making as they are believed to be backing the talent that won them promotion.

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