Auckland - Kruger van Wyk is as South African as a name can be, yet the former Titans wicketkeeper batsman reckons he is now as Kiwi as you can get.
The 32-year-old who cheerfully recollects his days playing with and against some of the Proteas team “when we were 10-year-olds” says he “belongs” in New Zealand and “really, really feels like a New Zealander.”
“There are times when I get the mickey taken out of me for my accent but I’m so grateful to New Zealand for the opportunities it has given me.
“When I left I was not just looking for more opportunities in cricket, I was looking to broaden my horizons as a person and New Zealand has given me those, but also to my family and the quality of life we have,” Van Wyk said on Monday.
Any thought of bitterness or rancour towards his former homeland - such as were expressed by Kevin Pietersen when he went to England - were dismissed out of hand by the diminutive Van Wyk.
“Not at all, not at all. Life is too short to be sour about anything and, if I’m brutally honest, I wasn’t consistent enough to make the South African side. Mark Boucher has been a top performer for 15 years and that speaks for itself. But I also knew that if I kept working hard at my game then, somewhere along the line, opportunities would come, and I’m grateful and thankful that they have with New Zealand.”
It is a measure of the respect in which his opponents hold him that Van Wyk was submitted to less, not more, sledging than he might have expected for a man in his position.
“There was the odd chirp here and there, and some Afrikaans, but it was just extremely competitive - we have that in common! It was good, but would be even better if we can get a win. Both teams were just strongly focused on the game.”
If anybody had even the slightest lingering doubt about the commitment of yet another SA cricketing export’s career to his new country, Van Wyk flattened it.
“My debut was the proudest moment of my life when I walked out to play for the Black Caps, this is where I belong.”