First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

New Protea Tristan Stubbs is more than just a power hit...

DM168

CRICKET

New Protea Tristan Stubbs is more than just a power hitter

Tristan Stubbs of the Warriors during a CSA One-Day Cup, Division 1 match against the Knights at St George's Park in Gqeberha on 30 March 2022. (Photo: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images)

The Gbets Warriors batting star has received his maiden Proteas call-up for the five-match T20I series that will be held in India in June.

It’s been a seismic two weeks for young batter Tristan Stubbs. First, the 21-year-old was called up by the Mumbai Indians in the India Premier League (IPL) as an injury replacement. And then, just a week later, he was named in the Proteas T20I squad to tour India next month.

The hard-hitting batter joined fellow South African Dewald Brevis in the blue and orange strip of Mumbai. Although he has made an inauspicious start, going out for a duck on his IPL debut, which he followed with two, the Proteas’ selectors had made their decision based on his domestic form.

Stubbs first caught the eye of the cricket-loving section of the country when he shone brightly for the Warriors in the CSA T20 Challenge in February this year.

He ended the tournament second on the run-scoring charts, with 293 runs in seven innings at an average of 48.83. But what really stood out about the 1.9m-tall batter was his rate of scoring – his impressive strike rate of 183.12 was accumulated with the help of 23 massive sixes.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang is one of his admirers.

“Tristan Stubbs had a wonderful T20 tournament and one thing that he does bring is a middle-order batter,” Mpitsang told DM168 prior to the South African “A” team’s departure to Zimbabwe earlier this month – Stubbs was selected in the SA “A” T20 squad to play against Zimbabwe XI.

“That’s something that we’ve highlighted is that we need to expose the middle orders in our teams and obviously, it’s a great opportunity for him to go there and play the way he has. It’s a little bit higher up because it’s at the ‘A’ side and let’s see how he goes.”

Stubbs did well. Against Zimbabwe he batted twice, scoring 56 runs without being dismissed and with a strike rate of 121.73. That’s when the call-up to the IPL came.

Jolly hockey sticks

Stubbs’s introduction to hitting a ball as hard as possible was actually next to the hockey field where he grew up watching his father, a provincial hockey player in his time.

“My old man played hockey when I was quite small and he played [at] quite a high level. I grew up watching him on Saturdays. Whatever hockey game he played, I’d be there watching it,” Stubbs told DM168.

“That whole culture of you playing and then having a beer afterwards with your mates. I enjoy that part of sport. I think that’s probably why I enjoy playing sport so much.”

The Gqeberha-born batter went to Grey High School and then to Nelson Mandela University, where he is currently completing his bachelor of commerce degree in marketing and business management.

“I have two modules left, then I have a degree,” said Stubbs. “It was initially just to do something, then it was to play Varsity Cup, now it’s a plan B.”

He played and excelled at hockey throughout school and varsity.

“I played hockey at school and for varsity after school. I played Eastern Province under-18 and then for the university side. I went to tour [University Sports South Africa] for hockey in 2019,” he explained.

Some of the fundamental skills acquired while playing hockey have assisted him with his batting in cricket, his first love, according to Stubbs.

“It was always cricket first and then hockey second…

“I think it’s definitely helped with the way I play spin and the ability to sweep, being comfortable getting low…”

Dutch courage

Stubbs signed for Excelsior’20, a cricket club in the Netherlands, and plied his trade there for three-and-a-half months in the South African winter of 2021.

“My grandparents lived in Holland, they grew up there. They’re from Holland. I have a Dutch passport; I played there as a local,” said Stubbs.

While there, Stubbs, whose second skill was considered wicketkeeping throughout his early development, learnt a new skill – off-spin bowling.

“I also did a lot of bowling there, which helped a lot,” he said. “I wanted to work on my bowling and I just happened to bowl quite a bit and did quite well there.” 

Competitive spirit

He has often come to the crease around number six or seven for the Warriors, depending on the match situation.

His explosive batting has seen him often deployed as a “finisher”.

However, Stubbs believes there is more to his game.

“At the moment, I think I’m seen as a finisher and I’m happy to play that role because it’s getting me game time and that’s all we can really ask for,” he said.

“Down the line, I’d like to bat a little bit higher up, where I can give myself a bit of time and then go from there. For the moment I’m seen as someone who comes in towards the end and tries to hit a few, but down the line I’d love to bat higher up.”

Despite his main skill being batting, Stubbs always preferred watching the passion that is exuded by bowlers taking wickets.

“My favourite cricketer when I was growing up was Dale Steyn,” he said. “I loved the way he celebrated when he got a wicket or did something important.”

That’s an attribute Stubbs sees in himself too. “If I get competitive I don’t really control what I do,” he said light-heartedly.

Since his days idolising Steyn, he has developed into one of the most destructive power hitters in the local game. But it wasn’t always the case.

“Until matric, I was one of the smaller guys in my grade,” he said.

“I did a lot of homework to get stronger because before that I couldn’t hit the ball very far. Loads of gym work, I’d say that’s where it [power hitting] came from.” DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted