'Cricket was a backup to studies' - Rajasthan Royals star on accidental entry to cricket

Rajasthan Royals star player remembers his journey of being a professional cricketer.

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Rajasthan Royals started its IPL 2024 campaign with a bang on their home ground by defeating Lucknow Super Giants by 20 runs. There were lot of contributions from the home team, especially from their captain Sanju Samson, who was also chosen the Player of the Match.

RR debutant Nandre Burger was impressive as well in his three-over spell. Burger's figures might not tell the story but he was impressive with the new ball along with Trent Boult and troubled KL Rahul and other LSG batters. The left-arm quick was able to clock over 145 kph consistently and generated extra bounce from the surface.

Burger came in as an impact player in the second innings replacing Shimron Hetmyer in the playing XI. The left-armer is expected to play a bigger role for Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming matches as well. Rajastjan Royals signed him for INR 50 lakhs in this year's auction.

Nandre Burger on accidental entry to cricket

During an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Nandre Burger revealed that cricket was just a back-up to his studies.

"WITS offered a scholarship for those who played cricket. I thought it was cool. I didn't want to be a cricketer, but I was getting a free way to study, so I thought why not? Cricket was actually my back-up to academics (laughs)," Burger said.

It was when Nandre Burger had just recovered from injury that his university coach Neil Levenson saw him. Levenson was impressed by the youngster's talent and saw a potential fast bowler in him playing for South Africa in international cricket.

"I laughed it off at first. I was like, 'Man, I bowl at 125kph. I can't do this for a living. I've seen guys bowl 145kph.' Neil would have none of that. I said to him, 'Okay, I'll give this a go.' And within a few weeks, I was excited to train. I'd miss classes to be at training, wanting to work batters over," Burger added.

"Then I got the chance to be a net bowler at the franchise team in Jo'burg - Highveld Lions. I'd always played cricket in the backyard with friends and parents, but wouldn't say I ever had the desire to be a professional," the 28-year-old fast bowler added.

Also read: 'He fell prey to greed but..:' Aakash Chopra backing Rajasthan Royals player to win Orange Cap in IPL 2024

Nandre Burger is now an all-format bowler for South Africa. He has the ability to clock speeds over 145 kph on a consistent basis. He has played 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, and 1 T20I till now. The left-armer was highly impressive in the Test series against India, in which he picked up 11 wickets in 2 Tests.

Burger also played in the SA20 tournament this year for Johannesburg Super Kings before making his IPL debut for Rajasthan Royals.

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