"It's a feeling I never thought I'd experience to make my debut in all three formats over the last weeks. Obviously, it's been the best two weeks of my life to date."
The excitement is palpable. There couldn't have been a better way to round off the year for 28-year-old Nandre Burger, whose left-arm pace has taken the international cricket scene by storm of late. Not only did the fast bowler make his South Africa debut across formats, but also bagged a deserving IPL contract from Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming IPL 2024 season, truly making it a December to remember.
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Earlier this month, Burger made his white-ball debut against India and immediately impressed when he picked 3 wickets in the 2nd ODI, the same day his name turned pink in Dubai, at the auction table. A few days later, his fiery four-wicket haul powered the Proteas to a thumping win over India in the first Test, putting up an exhibition of pure, menacing fast bowling on a lively Centurion wicket. That he did it in the ultimate format of the game, almost had himself a hat-trick on debut, almost had the prized wicket of Virat Kohli and got the Centurion crowd go up in oohs and aahs, pushed the opponent so deep on the back foot that they never recovered, speaks volumes of the hunger that's burning inside of him. Burger finished with impressive match figures of 7/83, including a dream start to his Test career that saw him pick 2 wickets in the first 13 balls.
He's fast, turns intimidation into motivation, believes every wicket could be his last wicket so cherishes each one of them, and does it all with a big smile on his face. The pundits may not see him fit the ideal description of a fast bowler who's supposed to be aggressive and unfriendly. But when he makes the ball talk, you'd drop your burgers to watch this Burger kill your hunger (and the opponents).