“Without God I would definitely not be here”: Netherlands International Stephan Myburgh

Liam Flint heard Stephan Myburgh‘s story of qualifying to play cricket for the Netherlands at the top of the world game.

So Stephan where are you based at the moment in terms of your cricket?

I am currently based in the Netherlands with my wife. Unfortunately, as an associate team we don’t get to many games which is little frustrating but still extremely blessed to be able to do something I truly love.


Could you tell us a bit of your testimony and how you came to know God for yourself?

I have been blessed to grow up in a Christian home where my mother has played a massive role in my faith, but I believe my true relationship with God started only after school when I was about 20 years old.


You were born in Pretoria, South Africa, so why did you decide to qualify for the Netherlands?

I first came over to the Netherlands in 2006 as an overseas Pro for one of the clubs. It was never my intention the to qualify for Netherlands. I just enjoyed my time so much and decided to return the following year. When I came back for my fourth year the Dutch Netherlands coach at the time then asked me if I would like to represent Netherlands, as I could qualify under the ICC rules of playing and living in a country for long enough. As it was always a dream of mine, this was a door I believed God opened for me and I didn’t want the chance to slip away.


You had a great T20 tournament for the Netherlands in 2014, what do you think your success was down to?

I believe we had a very good World Cup because there was no pressure to perform. We were never given a chance to do well and then you can play with a lot of freedom which in cricket helps so much.


You were actually the third highest leading run scorer in that tournament behind the likes of Virat Kohli, would you say it’s your career highlight to date?

Yes, it has definitely been my highlight of my cricketing career to date and I would love to be able to get an opportunity again.


Do you think you would be where you are today without God’s influence in your life?

Without God I would definitely not be here. After school on a cricket tour a found a book on the Jabez prayer and started reading it and saying the prayer every day and I truly believe that God has blessed me in abundance because I kept praying for favour and I believed that with God all things are possible.


Who is the toughest opponent you’ve faced on the field and why?

That is a tough one. I have faced so many incredible bowlers it is hard to pick from but I believe Dale Steyn, who is also a very close friend of mine, must be up there as he is just one of the best bowlers ever. Another tough opponent and this might sound a little weird would be myself. You get yourself out more than opponents get you out I believe.


How consciously have you tried to model Jesus in your career, is it tough to chat openly about Him in the team sport culture?

Unfortunately I play in a team where there are not many Christians if any, therefore I find long tours sometimes very challenging. But I have always tried to model Jesus in my words and actions. I also write bible verses on the back of my bats and guys will then always ask me about the verses which I think is great. Everyone in the team respects my faith in Jesus but unfortunately there is not many open chats about Him.


Are there any fellow Christian cricketers that you connect with in the world game?

I am extremely blessed to be part of a Whatsapp group with some Australian and South African players where we can share some Bible verses and any ups and downs. My brother who also plays professional cricket and currently at Somerset also plays a big role in my faith with Christ in sport.


What’s your favourite ground to play at in the world and why?

Playing at Dharmasala this year at the T20 World Cup was amazing because you can see God’s goodness all around you with the most amazing view. This field is amazing! I obviously didn’t play much there though so tough to name it as my favourite. I believe my favourite ground in the world would be where it all started at Pretoria Boys High. The school field there is the quality of an international field and I have so many great memories there!


What advice would you give to young cricketers starting out in the pro game?

Nothing comes easy! Cricket is a very tough game and probably the sport with the most up and downs but if you work hard and believe you can reach the top. Also make sure you spend time with your team mates and opponents as those guys become friends for life. Make sure you enjoy cricket because it is just an amazing game and always give thanks for your talents and opportunities.

What's your stand-out quote from Stephan?

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