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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 14:19 GMT

Van Vuuren plays it cool
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Port Elizabeth

Namibia's Rudie van Vuuren
Van Vuuren will be at the Rugby World Cup in October

Rudie van Vuuren will be getting used to making history.

Already the first man to represent his country at both rugby union and cricket World Cups, he became the first Namibian to claim five wickets in a one-day international.

All this from a man who publicly admits he is "not that talented at cricket".

A trained doctor, Van Vuuren's loyalties were stretched recently when he missed two rugby qualifiers while preparing for Namibia's debut in the Cricket World Cup.

Come April, however, he intends to switch codes, pile on the pounds and go into training for his second Rugby World Cup.

"Sometimes you can take the passion and aggression of rugby on to the cricket field," he said.

"I don't think I'm that talented at cricket but sometimes that gives me the edge.

"And it is the same in rugby. I take the calmness of cricket on to the rugby field."

I would never think of myself as a professional sportsman
Rudi van Vuuren

It was not so much calmness as a mindless headrush by successive England batman that contributed to Van Vuuren's historic bowling display.

Nick Knight and Michael Vaughan pulled low to midwicket, while a final over that yielded two fours also brought three wickets.

But an opening spell of 6-2-10-2 was also memorable for its control.

Bowling at little more than medium pace, the square-jawed 30-year-old varied his length impressively, making the most of a slow St George's Park pitch.

Of his first 36 balls, 27 were scoreless.

Former All Black Jeff Wilson played in two rugby World Cup matches and also represented New Zealand at cricket - but never at a World Cup.

Van Vuuren, who plays fly-half, said: "I should make it [the Rugby World Cup in Australia later this year]. Injuries are the only concern at this stage.

"But I would never think of myself as a professional sportsman because I like it the way it is. I am very dedicated to my job. I have a big passion for medicine."

For now though, Van Vuuren's attentions are turned exclusively to cricket, as they were last year when his two commitments clashed.

"The guys from the cricket and rugby understand," he said.

"They have a gentlemen's agreement and they try to accommodate me but it doesn't always work out and I missed two Rugby World Cup qualifiers."

He also bowls the meanest long hop in the game.

Knight and Vaughan will be in mourning over their dismissals - short balls pulled unerring to midwicket - and the final three wickets were largely the result of last-over slogging.

But the celebrations were genuine enough - as was the smile.





Links to more Namibia stories


 

SEE ALSO
Van Vuuren revels in career high
17 Feb 03 |  Namibia


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