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Burger fully fit and raring to go ahead of new season

After a season-ending injury to his lower back in November 2021, Six Gun Grill Western Province fast bowler Nandre Burger has been declared fully fit and raring to go as the start of the domestic cricket season draws near.

The always-positive Burger, who recently celebrated his 27th birthday, however, did find it tough when he found out the extent of his injury, but he soon found a silver-lining to cling on to.

“I’m not going to deny the fact that at the start, it was tough. The day I found out that essentially I wouldn’t be playing a game of cricket for a year, that was extremely difficult, especially mentally, but a few months into it – I don’t want to say I was grateful for the injury – but I was grateful for the fact that I had the time off to spend with my family, take a step back in life and re-evaluate my goals and the things I want to achieve in my life. Of course, it’s never nice to miss games, but at the end of the day, I found a little light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”

The impact on a fast bowler’s body is intense and Burger has used this time off to understand his body better and what he needs to do to take his game to the next level.

“I now understand my body a lot better, I have identified where I have a few weak points and where I need to improve, I’ve worked on my bowling action. I’ve worked with Shane (WP physio) in certain areas to be more flexible and have been working hard with Dieter (WP S&C) in the pre-season to get even fitter and stronger. It’s safe to say that I’m raring to go for the season. I’ve got to give a massive shoutout to them for helping my recovery and getting me to trust that my back will be okay and also for holding me back a bit when I needed to be because I like to go full-‘Nandre’ sometimes.”

Whilst the physical side of his game has seen growth, he hasn’t neglected the mental side, a crucial part of the overall armoury a cricketer needs at their disposal.

“From a mental health point of view, I have learned so much. Whilst I haven’t had the chance to really play a game since my injury or even bowl at full tilt to a batsman, mentally, I have had the opportunity to totally clear my mind from cricket, take time and step away from the game, not even watch it on TV and not think about it all the time. At the end of the day, cricket is my most favourite thing to do in the world, but I took the opportunity to press the reset button and go back to the world and not just cricket.”

“Since I’ve been back fully in cricket-mode, I’ve had a lot of conversations with experienced guys, guys who have retired and asked them how they went about certain situations. I’ve looked back at my old games and asked myself what I could have done better, mentally, rather than tactically.”

Ultimately, Burger is just chomping at the bit to be back on the field and is clear in his goals for the coming season. “We want to win all trophies that are up for grabs. I thought last year, we were very close especially in the T20 competition, but I thought we were very competitive in all competitions, despite national call-ups and injuries. If we keep that momentum, energy and belief in the processes and the goals we have set for ourselves, at the end of the day, we will hopefully be up on the podium celebrating together,” he concluded.