Herman Van Werkhoven. He and I have been friends for about 5 years now since he came to U.S. from South Africa, during which time we played together on the university club team. He moved away for a couple of years to Arizona and now he is back. We just spent the evening talking Cricket over a few beers and my possible plans of visiting South Africa in December when India will be playing South Africa in a test series. Herman was explaining to my wife why South Africa, although a very talented team, has not won anything meaningful in Cricket and whatever the fuck has happened to J. P. Duminy! (Herman even used the “C word” – Choke.)
It looks like the only test match I would be able to watch if I were to be able to go to South Africa would be the 2nd test match of the series at Durban. This led to us talking about Andrew Hudson top scoring for South Africa in the opening test match of the 1996/97 series in Durban and India getting obliterated by Allan Donald. It was also the test match during which I fell out of a bus in Chennai and my head hit the curb and I passed out with a concussion. Some Good Samaritan put me in a taxi and took me to my sister’s house. As I was coming around, I wanted to make sure I had not lost much time and I asked this stranger whether it was still the first day of the Durban test match. He gave me the look as If I was speaking Greek and I came to know much later from my sister that this guy had told her that I had gone completely mental.
Anyway, coming back to Herman — When he was away, he and his wife had a baby boy, Noah, who now is 20 months old. As any sane Cricket fan would do, Herman put an autographed cricket bat in the hands of Noah few days after he was born. Herman always said, “I know the kids growing up in the U.S. have a lot of choices when it comes to sports. I just want to make sure my son makes the right choice”. Good man. Oh by the way, the cricket bat – signed by none other than the great South African bowler, Fanie De Villiers. (We spent another few minutes raving about that spell of Fanie like some school girls talking about Robert Pattinson!).