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Newcomer wins big after instant cricketing impact

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Top performers… Star Black Caps batsman and former Young Player award winner Kane Williamson (left) with this year’s winner Jordan van Zyl

A Westlake Boys High School cricketer has won New Zealand’s Young Player of the Year award, less than 12 months after arriving here.
Jordan van Zyl was presented with the award on 13 March, rubbing shoulders with Black Caps Tim Southee, Kane Williamson, Neil Wagner and Finn Allen at the New Zealand Cricket Awards in Christchurch.
“It was a good experience just talking to them,” he told the Observer.
The 17-year-old immigrated with his family to New Zealand from South Africa seven months ago, initially living in Tauranga for three weeks before moving to Auckland.
He started school at Westlake, joining the first XI cricket side and impressing at last December’s Gillette Cup, the national secondary schools one-day cricket competition.
Jordan won the tournament MVP and finished as the leading run-scorer, with 247 runs, three half-centuries, and an average of 49, as Westlake finished runners-up.
The year-12 student said it felt great to win the award, especially considering those who have previously lifted the trophy.
“Looking back at all of the names on the trophy is quite amazing: Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Rachin Ravindra…
“I felt pretty proud of myself, but I also need to keep on working because if I keep on working great things will happen.”
Westlake’s first XI cricket side have gone into the winter break on top of the Auckland secondary school premier limited-over competition table, having had eight wins and one loss.
Jordan said if the side can pick up where they left off when the season resumes in term four, they can “definitely” make it to another Gillette Cup.
The all-rounder said he aims to get a contract with the Auckland Aces a year or two after he leaves school and use that to prove himself and be selected for the Black Caps.
He also has aspirations to play T20 cricket in the Indian Premier League one day.

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