IPL comes knocking for Du Preez
The Indian Premier League has knocked on Dillon du Preez's door and the Diamond Eagles fast bowler has gladly opened, eager for the chance to display his talents on an international stage.
The 27-year-old Du Preez, who was named as one of South Africa's Five Cricketers of the Year last season for spearheading the Eagles' SuperSport Series triumph, has signed for the Bangalore Royal Challengers, who have come under a new management with the appointment of the demanding Ray Jennings as head coach.
Du Preez has been a top-class performer in all formats of the game for the Eagles and Leicestershire over the last couple of years and he turned down a chance to join the South African training squad at the start of the season, fearing that it would jeopardise his Kolpak status in English county cricket.
But the riches of the IPL, and the chance to work under Jennings and alongside such legends as Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Mark Boucher and Dale Steyn at Bangalore has been an offer too tempting to forego. While it could complicate his future with Leicestershire - the IPL is in April, when the county season starts - it could also open the way for him to be available for the national team, given that an IPL contract should tide him over the winter.
"The offer has come as a real blessing because I'm still on a Kolpak contract and those might end depending on the new ruling in English cricket," Du Preez told SuperCricket on Wednesday.
"It will be my first time in India and I really don't know what to expect. I just hope I don't disappoint Ray in the first week!"
Du Preez is a superb bowler at the death, with a lethal yorker and great changes of pace, while his big hitting is also valuable at the end of the innings. His acquisition by Jennings may be viewed as something of a gamble by team owner, liquor baron and airline operator Dr Vijay Mallya, but the Bangalore Royal Challengers have to make some telling changes if they are improve on their dismal showing in the inaugural IPL.
A few limited-overs specialists to join the Test stars would be of great benefit to them and, because the likes of Steyn, Kallis and Boucher, as well as Australians Cameron White and Nathan Bracken, will be in South Africa until late April for the ODI series, Du Preez should come into the frame.
"With those guys missing the first three or four games, I might have a crack at getting in the team. But there are a couple of top-class players in the squad and it be will inspiring just to practise with them, not even to play," Du Preez said.