The inspiring story of prospective Proteas debutant Erwee

The inspiring story of prospective Proteas debutant Erwee

On the eve of the Proteas’ departure to New Zealand for a two-Test tour, star batsman Keegan Petersen was ruled out due to Covid-19 protocols.

Sarel Erwee, who has been in terrific form for South Africa A and Dolphins, now looks set to get a long-awaited opportunity in the Proteas Test team.

“Sarel Erwee has been our backup batter for quite some time. He’s had a few series now where he’s been carrying the drinks, and he’s been brilliant off the field. So I’d like to think he’s the guy who comes in,” Test captain Dean Elgar commented prior to the team’s departure.

In the three-match series against India A, Erwee was the leading run-scorer with 251 runs in five innings, while in the domestic 4-day tournament, he scored 258 runs in three innings this season.
Last year, in a fascinating interview for New Frame, the Dolphins opener revealed how he used lockdown to address a mental health issue.

“Mentally, I was in a really bad place. I was taking my work home and my relationships with the people around me, people who cared so much for me, were not good at all,” he commented.
“I think we still have a long way to go in terms of our attitude towards mental health,” said Erwee.
“We are all fighting our own demons, regardless of being sportsmen or people in the spotlight. Not being able to talk things out with the people around you only adds to the issues.”

Erwee was set for a stint in England with the Weybridge Cricket Club, but ultimately the extended Covid-19 lockdown served him well.

“It gave me time to confront my issues. I looked for help and started working with a performance psychologist, Kirsten van Heerden. Just being able to talk through what I felt were massive walls was a huge burden off my shoulders.”

The 32-year-old has come back as a stronger and more resolute player, and the opportunity that awaits in New Zealand will surely add another fascinating chapter to his inspiring story.

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