Johann Louw was thought to be heading into obscurity when he left the Sunfoil Dolphins and headed down to Cape Town to play for the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras. To come and enjoy the views, the wine and some good food, while finishing up his cricket career.
"Actually, when I came here, I still had dreams of playing for South Africa, that was the main reason for moving to a stronger franchise. But things did not go according to plan in the first few seasons," said Louw of his move.
It has been anything but a career ending move. Louw has found new energy and a love for the game. The website, espncricinfo.com, describes Louw as "A hard-working and honest seamer", and nothing could be further from the truth.
"With Rory (Kleinveldt) being called up (to the Proteas), I needed to take on the responsibility, so I did not go overseas, I spent a lot of time in the gym getting strong and fresh again," Louw said.
"Johann has always been the unsung hero, not a lot of people talk about him with the work he puts in behind the scenes. He is the absolute true professional, he works extremely hard at his game and he is probably the hardest working player out of all of us here," said Justin Ontong, the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras captain, from their training session at Sahara Park Newlands on Wednesday.
"He might not be the most naturally gifted player around, but like I said, he works very hard at his game," Ontong added.
"I don't really enjoy the limelight but I'm just glad that I can contribute to a successful team," a shy Louw responded at training.
Louw led the bowling attack at the Sunfoil Dolphins for many seasons, as well as the Eagles, Middlesex and Northamptonshire.
"He did exceptionally well at the Dolphins, leading the bowling attack and he brought all that experience with him when he came down to the Cobras, he gelled very nicely into the team," said Ontong.
When one considers that the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras' bowling attack consists of Charl Langeveldt, Dale Steyn, Rory Kleinveldt, Vernon Philander and Justin Kemp, one could argue that it is easy to slip under the radar.
"Although he is playing along side some real stars, he's done a fantastic job and he does not get rewarded that often, so it is about time that people sit up and take notice of his value and effort," Ontong said while being full of praise for his experienced opening bowler.
The tall right-arm medium-fast bowler has claimed 13 wickets this season at an economy rate of 4.55 runs per over. "He is very steady. He keeps the pressure on the batsmen, even though he doesn't take that many wickets, his contribution is invaluable," said Ontong.
"I cannot praise him enough, he's been absolutely fantastic for us," Ontong added.
Ontong stated that after losing a few games, they realised that they needed some experience upfront with the new ball, as the young Beuren Hendricks was leaking too many runs. Louw stepped up to the plate and developed a fantastic new-ball partnership with Charl Langeveldt.
"I've really enjoyed it, Charl and I understand each other very well. We also did a fast bowling clinic together, so it was nice to part with some of our knowledge," Louw confessed.
Has the Cape Town-born allrounder thought about retiring soon? Yes was his answer. "I have, but I think I still have two or three years left in me. I am feeling very fit, there are no niggles or injuries, in fact, I am probably in the top three with regards to fitness here," said Louw after his intense batting session.
Louw is feeling confident ahead of the Momentum One Day Cup final against the bizhub Highveld Lions at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday.
"We should win the game if we play good cricket. We have a lot of experience and the national boys are back, but we still have to execute well, so we are confident, but not over-confident," claimed Louw.
The grand finale of the Momentum One Day Cup begins at 15h00 on Friday, but with rain forecast for the highveld, the match could be a shortened affair. Shoukd play not be possible at all on Friday, then the teams will return on Saturday, which has been set aside as a reserve day.