The racial quotas in the South African cricket setup have forever been a hurdle in the development of the game in the nation. Consequently, we have seen many leave the country to explore opportunities elsewhere. While England has been the principal beneficiary of this movement, even New Zealand has been strengthened by the influx of some South Africa-born cricketers. In this article, we take a look at seven South Africa-born cricketers who played for New Zealand.
1. BJ Watling
International Debut For New Zealand – November 2009
Called by Brendon McCullum as one of his ‘favourite’ cricketers, BJ Watling moved as a ten-year-old from Dublin to New Zealand. After impressing in the domestic competitions, he got a chance to feature in the 2004 U19 World Cup for the Kiwis.
After Bazz decided to not don the gloves in the longer format, BJ Watling became the primary choice for the role. In February 2014, he put on a partnership of 352 along with Brendon McCullum in Wellington against India. While that was his breakthrough performance, ever since, he has been an important part of the Test Team. Recently, he announced that he would retire from the game after the World Test Championship final in 2021.
2. Grant Elliott
International Debut For New Zealand – March 2008
It was at the break of this century, in 2001, that the Johannesburg born Grant Elliott decided to move out of South Africa. He had made one List A appearance for his birth-country before donning the Kiwi jersey. The all-rounder played a total of 5 Tests, 83 ODI’s and 17 T20Is for the Kiwis.
Although he had been under the radar for most of his career, Grant brought out his ‘A’ game a year before his eventual retirement. It was the 2015 World Cup semi-final, and New Zealand was aiming for their first entry into the finals. Incidentally, this game was against South Africa. It was a tense chase, and in the penultimate delivery, the player struck a six off Dale Steyn to win the game for the Kiwis. For his 84 runs off 73 balls, he was awarded the M.O.M award for that game.
3. Neil Wagner
International Debut For New Zealand – July 2012
After participating in competitive tournaments like Provincial Challenge in South Africa, Neil Wagner decided to look for options elsewhere. He first signed up to play in County and then made the move to New Zealand.
A Test match specialist, the left-arm pacer is known for his swing. In 2016, he was the best Kiwi red-ball bowler, taking 32 wickets in seven games. Particularly, his show in Christchurch against Australia that year gave him cult status.
4. Devon Conway
International Debut For New Zealand – November 2020
Devon Conway is the latest star in this list of South Africa-born cricketers who played for New Zealand. While he is currently in the news for striking a double-hundred on his Test debut at the Lord’s, the left-hander has actually been in form in the limited-overs format too.
Conway is also one of the very few players to have remained not-out on 99 in T20I cricket. This took place in the first game in the series against Australia in February 2021. As of June 2021, he holds the No.4 position in ICC’s T20I batting player rankings.
5. Kruger van Wyk
International Debut For New Zealand – March 2012
Once, considered as Mark Boucher’s replacement behind the stumps, Kruger van Wyk could not go further in his South African career. He made the switch to New Zealand and opportunities started to flow.
He made his Test debut, incidentally, against South Africa in March 2012. After that game, the wicket-keeper could participate in just eight more games for the Kiwis. He did not feature in any other format. In 2015, he announced his decision to retire from the game.
6. Colin Munro
International Debut For New Zealand – December 2012
Colin Munro is yet another mention in the list of South Africa-born Cricketers who played for New Zealand. Although the all-rounder has represented the Kiwis in all the formats, it is in T20Is that he has contributed the most.
The southpaw has struck three centuries in T20I format, one of the highest in the format. He enjoys a strike rate of over 150 at a healthy average of above 30 in T20Is. The Durban-born cricketer also contributes with the bowl at times.
7. Glenn Phillips
International Debut For New Zealand – February 2017
We have seen cricketer represent a country in ODI’s and Tests or ODI’s and T20Is. However, Glenn Phillips belongs to the rare category of cricketers who have represented their country in Tests and T20I’s but not in ODI’s.
Having moved from South Africa at the age of five, Phillips first instance at the highest professional level was his participation in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. Later, in 2017, after Martin Guptill got injured, Phillips was drafted into the T20I squad and made his debut against his birth nation South Africa. Since then, the wicket-keeper batsman has been at the core of the Kiwi squad in the shortest format.