On the record: Charl Langeveldt

Tuesday 21st June 2011

Men’s First Team

On the record: Charl Langeveldt

The official Kent Cricket Friends Life t20 Tournament Guide is now available, priced £3. Thefifty pageguide contains all you need to know, including team by team previews, exclusive player interviews and special features. Selected extracts from the Guide will be available on the Kent Cricket website throughout June and July. To read the full version of these articles you can pick upacopy at any of the Spitfires’ home t20 matches or from the Kent Cricket shop.

On the record: Charl Langeveldt

Charl Langeveldt, 36, signed for Spitfires on the eve of the Friends Life t20. Kent is the South African fast bowler’s fourth county: he won the Twenty20 Cup with Somerset in 2005, under the captaincy of Graeme Smith and has also enjoyed stints with Leicestershire and Derbyshire. Langeveldt made his first-class debut in 1997 and for much of his early career combined cricket with a job working as a warder at Cape Town’s Drakenstein prison. He played the first of his six Tests against England in January 2005, taking 5/46 in his first innings against Michael Vaughan’s team. He has also played 72 one-day internationals and six International T20s and last appeared for South Africa in October 2010.

Langeveldt has had a series of successes in Twenty20: as well as Somerset’s title, he has twice been a champion in South Africa’s Pro20, with Cobras, including this year playing alongside former Kent all-rounder Justin Kemp and Essex Eagles’ Owais Shah. He has spent three seasons at the IPL, and joined Spitfires fresh from the Bangalore Royal Challengers’ run to the final at the end of May.

Tell us about working as a prison warder.

I worked there for five years. When I started playing cricket, it wasn’t fully professional and there was an arrangement where the government would give you work that allowed you to have time off to play cricket. So I was never full-time in the prison. But when I did work there, it was hard work, it taught me a lot about mental toughness, about being calm in difficult situations. In terms of cricket, you think of Twenty20, of needing to be calm to take control of a situation where things are changing quickly.

But at the end of my time at the prison, whenI was touring England in our winters, I was probably only working about 20 days a year, so it became harder for them to keep me on the staff.

You must have been quite a tough person when you started work there?

[Laughs] Well, you don’t have to be tough, you just have to look tough! But, yeah, you have to toughen up quickly, you have to show them that you’re tough. It taught me a lot about life. Even when you’re walking out in front of 80,000
supporters at the IPL, screaming and shouting at you, it is a lot easier than having 80 prisoners against you, a lot easier than working in a prison.

You won the South African T20 with Cobras this year. How does South African T20 differ from England’s?

It’s harder to be a bowler in England! Here, there’s always one small boundary but in South Africa the wickets tend to be in the middle of the field. And in England you play a lot of T20 on out-grounds, where one boundary is 20 metres and the other one is 50 metres – which makes it harder to defend a score. So you can’t just bowl yorkers because even a mis-hit can go for four or six. So England is more of a challenge. And the wickets here are probably more in favour of the batter, too. But I’m not complaining about it! You just have to be strong and get on with it and be up for the challenge.

You seem to be becoming a kind of T20 specialist…

I still like 50-over cricket, but T20 is a different challenge; it tests your skills. You need to have some bouncebackability: one day you’ll go well, the next day you’ll go for a few, so that’s a test, mentally. I normally bowl the first two overs and the last two overs, so I’m under pressure from ball one. It’s a good challenge and at my age I think you need to be challenged every game. T20 is the
ultimate challenge: you have to bring something to the table, you can’t be predictable in your length or with your yorkers or your bouncers. It’s a good game; it’s not Test cricket, but you’re always under a lot of pressure when you play.

You know Kent supporters see you as being like the cavalry, coming to shore up quite an inexperienced bowling attack?

[Laughs] Yeah. That’s the deal when you’re the overseas player – people expect you to do well. We’ve got a fairly young bowling attack and I’ll try to give some guidance to them. But once you walk over the rope, it’s the bowler against the batsman, so whatever advice you give, there’s not much you can practically do. But I’m up for the
challenge: I know it’s important that we start well: you need to look to take wickets in the first six overs in Twenty20, otherwise you’re going to struggle.

Have you seen much of Wahab Riaz, Kent’s other new signing?

I think he’ll be brilliant for the team. He’s quick, he’s a left-armer, which gives you variety, and he bowls good slower balls and good yorkers too. And I’ve seen him hit a few balls as well.

Did you know many of the Kent team before you signed?

I used to play against Martin van Jaarsveld and I’ve played against Keysy and Jonesy and Azhar Mahmood but most of the guys are new to me, so it’s a learning process, learning how they play, learning their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve only played one year for a southern team – for Somerset in 2005 – so I don’t know that many players in the southern division, I do think it’s a stronger division, though. And playing 16 group games, the English T20 is probably the hardest T20 tournament there is. The IPL is 14 group games, then semi-finals.

To read the full interview with Charl Langeveldt, pick up the Friends Life t20 Tournament Guide, available at all of the Spitfires home t20 matches and from the Kent Cricket shop at the St Lawrence Ground.

Photo by Sarah Ansell from SarahCanterbury.com