While he is as ecstatic as any player who made it into South Africa’s brand new premier cricket league, the SA20, Eathan Bosch reckons how he got there isn’t an experience he would recommend to anyone.
“I sat there and watched the whole thing,” he remembers the September 19 auction for the SA20 League. “They went past my name two or three times before they ended up picking me, so I don’t think I’ll ever be doing that again...
“Obviously I think I’m fortunate to have been bought [for a baseline price of R175 000]. It’s an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the greats of the T20 game and some of the coaching staff.
“Jacques Kallis is one of my idols and one of the best to have ever played the game, so I’ll just try to be a sponge when the tournament comes.”
Getting picked up by an SA20 team may have had shades of being close to the last kid picked in the playground, but the fact that it was the Pretoria Capitals, that made the wait worth it for the Durban-born Dolphins player.
The Pretoria Capitals, owned by JSW Sports who are also co-owners of the IPL giants the Delhi Capitals, is one of six exciting franchises in the SA20. The Capitals will be based at SuperSport Park in Centurion, which is incidentally where Bosch’s late father, former Proteas fast bowler Tertius Bosch ploughed his trade in the late 80s and early 90s – and where Bosch’s elder brother Corbin currently plays as a Titans player.
“It’s going to be nice going back home and playing where my dad played. It’ll come with its own challenges but it’ll be pretty special. Not that I’m the quickest guy out there, there’s always a bit of pace and bounce. It’s a nice place to be tested as a bowler because you have to be very accurate and clear in your plans.”
Possibly because it’s the one thing that still binds them to him, following in their father’s footsteps is important to the Bosch brothers, Eathan says: “Trying to live in his footsteps is a big driver. Obviously I’m grateful I didn’t get his batting genes because I bat way better than he ever could...
“But I wear number 14 [Tertius’ old number], my brother also does and we both want to play for the Proteas. Even on my run up, I write ‘TB’... Pretty much every time I’m on the field, it’s for him.”
Bosch – who takes a fair bit of the old sledge about not being the best cricketer in his own family because his brother was part of the SA Under-19 team which won the World Cup in 2014 – says the brothers are typically competitive.
“Our competitiveness started in our garden cricket days,” says Bosch of all-rounder Corbin, who is four years his senior and was pre-bought for the SA20 by the Paarl Royals. “I’m a bit taller [at 1.90m] but he’s a little bigger.
“We haven’t played against each other too much, I just know that I’ve got him out once and he hasn’t. It can be tough playing against your brother, wanting him to do well but also wanting your team to win.”
Judging by his progress in the ongoing CSA T20 Challenge – where his 11 wickets have helped the Dolphins into the finals – he’s warming nicely to the task of playing in the SA20, which begins on January 10.
The fast-medium bowler attributes his good early season form to being tossed the new ball at his provincial union, which helps with his stated strength of swing bowling.
Like all the SA20 players, he’s looking forward to full stadiums after a couple of years playing in near-empty grounds due to Covid-19: “It’s been different going from playing in front of crowds and not doing so anymore.
“I miss the crowd because I haven’t played in a full stadium since Covid, it’s kind of what you live off – it always gets the blood pumping. We’re desperate to play in front of big crowds again because that’s why we play.”
SA20 strives to be a world class cricket league, with the power to be SA’s No 1 Sport and Entertainment brand. The League will kick-off on 10 January 2023.