Three switch allegiance

Kruger van Wyk and Grant Elliott from South Africa and Alun Evans from Wales have pledged their allegiance to New Zealand and intend to qualify for New Zealand residency and in doing so give themselves a chance of being eligible for New Zealand selection in future.

Van Wyk, a 26 year-old wicketkeeper, will play for Canterbury this season. Last season opener Michael Papps was asked to carry the duties with the gloves in the almost permanent absence of Brendon McCullum, something that had a negative effect on his batting. Van Wyk averages 29.18 with the bat in first-class cricket and a very impressive 38.45 in one-day matches.

Elliott will return to the Basin Reserve this season after performing well with both bat and ball for Wellington last year.

The two are following what a number of South Africans have done in recent years in moving to New Zealand, and if they do reach the top level of cricket they won’t be the first expatriate South Africans to play sport for New Zealand. Irene van Dyk made the move several years ago and has since been a prolific points-scorer in international netball.

Players with similar records in South African first-class cricket have made the move to English county teams and have had great success. There is every chance that these two players will do the same in New Zealand, and they may not be the last to make the move.

Evans meanwhile probably has little chance of playing at the top level for New Zealand. A 31 year-old who has found it hard to cement a spot in the Glamorgan first eleven, Evans signed for Northern Districts and for Northland as a player-coach last year. He has had moderate success and now that he is seeking residency will have to play for Glamorgan as an overseas player if he chose to return.

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