Following the news that former Boland and Free State batsman Lenert van Wyk, now working in the Netherlands, is transferring from Sparta 1888 to VRA Amsterdam, it has emerged that fellow South African Sybrand Engelbrecht will join fellow Dutch Topklasse club Voorburg.
Born in Johannesburg, 32-year old Engelbrecht came through the Northerns development system, and played a season for their senior side before moving to Cape Town. He then turned out for Western Province and the Cape Cobras franchise between 2008 and 2016.
He had earlier been part of the South African side in the 2007-08 Under-19 World Cup, which reached the final before losing a rain-affected match to an Indian team captained by a kid named Virat Kohli.
In all, Engelbrecht has played 54 first-class matches, making 3067 runs at an average of 40.35, his best an unbeaten 214 against Namibia in 2012-13. His one-day average is even better: 45.53 from 58 matches, although he never posted a List A century. Interestingly, while his performances with the bat in T20 matches are much less impressive, his 31 wickets came at 19.83, less than half his bowling average in the longer formats of the game.
Sybrand Engelbrecht may be making his debut for Voorburg in the Dutch Topklasse, but he is no stranger to Dutch cricket. He played a half-season with HBS Craeyenhout in 2015. Then, he made 490 runs at 40.83 that year, including 134 against VRA, and took ten wickets: his victims included Wesley Barresi, Peter Borren and Stef Myburgh.
A graduate of Stellenbosch University’s Business School, he has been working in the European office of South African investment company Fairtree Invest since January.
Voorburg will be hoping that he can have as big an impact as his compatriot Van Wyk, who finished seventh with the bat in last season’s Topklasse averages and did even better in the T20 Cup, where he hit three centuries in eight innings, making 490 runs and averaging 70.00.
Van Wyk’s move to VRA will add considerable experience to the Amstelveen club’s youthful side, where he will fit into a top order which already includes former national captain Peter Borren, the prodigiously talented young opener Vikram Singh, Dutch international Ben Cooper, and another young prospect in Shirase Rasool.
And the South African contingent, traditionally strong in Dutch cricket, will be enhanced by HBS Craeyenhout’s signing of two young players from Western Province, 23-year-old paceman Ryan Klein – who Dutch coach Ryan Campbell was quick to point out holds a Dutch passport — and 24-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Tayo Walbrugh.
The pace division of the Dutch national squad is scarcely short of talent, but Campbell will doubtless have noted Klein’s 23 wickets at 11.30 in his debut first-class season with Western Province in 2019-20, a record which put him near the top of the national averages.
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