Roelof Van Der Merwe, experienced former South African all-rounder and senior player of The Unlimited Titans, has announced his plans to leave the franchise and South African cricket and pursue a new career for the Netherlands following a prodigious season for the Hennops River-franchise. Van Der Merwe pursued a Netherlands passport through his Dutch ancestry and it was secured on Monday 29th June. The former South African player will represent the Netherlands immediately and will seek to become part of the Dutch ICC Twenty20 World Cup squad in March and April 2016.
He will also attempt to play county cricket in England as a European Union local citizen. Van Der Merwe was the leading four-day run-scorer for the Titans in the 2014/2015-season, managing 774 runs at an average of 55.28. The middle-order batsman struck three centuries including a remarkable double-hundred as the Titans broke their century-drought which yielded only one score beyond three figures in the Sunfoil Series of 2012/2013 and 2013/2014-seasons.
Van Der Merwe featured in 13 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 13 T20-Internationals for South Africa in 2009 and 2010 and captured 31 wickets as left-arm spinner. His 3/27 was his best return for the Proteas. Although he was not re-selected for South Africa after 2010, a resurgent Van Der Merwe was arguably the Titans’ best bowler in the limited-overs format two seasons ago.
His 15 wickets in 12 matches enabled the Titans to rally and reach the Momentum One Day Cup final in 2013/2014, which was washed out, resulting in shared spoils for the Titans and the Cape Cobras. Van Der Merwe started the batting renaissance of the Titans in the 2013/2014-season with his five half-centuries and was the leading run-scorer. He continued his amazing transformation last season and pioneered a new batting spirit which inspired the Titans top-order to record 10 centuries.
Titans coach Rob Walter says: ‘His indomitable spirit and defiance has endeared Roelof to the Titans-fans and to a wider South African audience. He had a never-say-die-attitude and was extremely motivated to make a difference and to win matches for the Titans. He was a player who really epitomised what it meant to be a Titan. He constantly set the standards for all to follow. He will certainly leave the local stage proud of what he had achieved at the Sky Blues while playing some of the best cricket of his career. The fact that he was the first-class cricketer of the year last season bears testimony to that. Along with the team, I wish him all the successes he deserves moving forward. I wish to thank him for all the hard yards he put into training in order to achieve personal and team success. The changeroom just won’t be the same without the Bulldog.’
Van Der Merwe says: ‘It has been a privilege and an amazing journey to be part of the Titans family for the past eight years. My cricket journey will continue, but I have decided on a different path that could be beneficial to my long-term career and family life. I would like to thank everyone at the Titans for all the support and hard work. You had a massive impact into making me the cricketer and person that I am today. All these ingredients of the cricket trade I have acquired at the Titans will be a strong component in my future endeavours. I will miss wearing the Sky Blues.’