Wiaan Mulder: 'I would like to grow as much as I can'

The 20-year-old all-rounder, who has been named in the South Africa squad for the forthcoming Test series against Australia, looks at his selection as 'a massive learning curve'.

Wiaan Mulder:" It would be my dream or goal to make a name in the longer format.”   -  GETTY IMAGES

Like most young guns, Wiaan Mulder is a dream chaser. The 20-year-old all-rounder, who has been named in the South Africa squad for the forthcoming Test series against Australia, hasn’t had a good outing in the practice game. Against a potent pace attack, Mulder could only manage five runs off 11 balls.

However, unfazed by his initial failure, Mulder — who would be making his Test debut — wants to ‘grow’ once the series begins on Thursday.

A learning curve

“In this series, I would like to grow as much as I can — as a person, as a cricketer. I am not too fussed about what happens on the field, I believe what’s meant to be is meant to be,” Mulder tells Sportstar, a little after the tour match.

“I am trying to take valuable lessons from the tour that could eventually help me become someone great, something special in the cricketing world. I am trying to learn and contribute as much as I can,” Mulder—who has donned the Proteas colours in a lone ODI against Bangladesh last year—adds.

South Africa may have beaten India 2-1 in the Test series but the youngster, who plays for the Lions in the domestic circuit, is aware facing Australia will be a different ballgame.

“It is absolutely amazing to find my name in the squad, and it is very close to a dream coming true,” he says, quickly adding, “At this stage, it is a massive opportunity for me and the target is to make use of it.”

While it may have been a forgettable outing, he admits that the practice game has actually helped him prepare for the big battle. “I got a lot of experience from it, as we were playing against so many experienced international cricketers. The guys like Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood are very big names in world cricket."

Mulder wished to meet a few Australian cricketers for a tip or two, but that did not happen. “By the time we finished our team chat after the game, they were already on the team bus, all ready to go.

"It is disappointing that I could not talk to them apart from a bit of talk here and there. But as the Test series progresses, I am sure there will be opportunities to chat,” he says.

Test cricket is paramount

Mulder, who belongs to a generation where the game has been reduced to 10-over-a-side affair, still prefers Test cricket.

“I think it is still the best format. That’s absolutely my view. The true test of skill and brain power and endurance comes in here. For me, at this stage, a four-day or a five-day Test match is the best,” Mulder, who considers Jacques Kallis and Shane Watson as his idols, explains.

Having said that, "I also enjoy One-day and T20 cricket. But it would be my dream or goal to make a name in the longer format.”

Coming into the squad, Mulder is looking forward to sharing the dressing room with some of the biggest names. “As a young player, being in the squad against a quality team like Australia is a massive learning curve.

"More than anything else, it is an opportunity to grow. It is also a way of learning from their players and finding a way to improve myself,” he says.

Mulder would also ‘want to learn how to deal with media’ and understand the tenacity of the game. Having finished his high school last year, Mulder plans to take up a course in business and strategy development at the university. “But that would be for late. At the moment, I am only trying to focus on cricket and make it a career,” he  adds.

‘If you are good, you are there’ goes the popular saying in the cricketing fraternity. And, Mulder would be hoping to come good in a series that promises to be filled with challenges.