Alistair Bushe (News Letter)
CIYMS have unveiled South African all-rounder Obus Pienaar as their overseas professional for the 2019 season.
Pienaar, who played for Waringstown for two summers in 2011 and 2013, will succeed Matt McGillivray as pro for the reigning NCU Premier League champions.
It is a huge statement of intent by the Belmont club, who were famously on the receiving end of Pienaar’s record-breaking 244 for Waringstown at The Lawn in 2011. It is still the highest individual batting total made in the top flight.
Captain Nigel Jones said: “We are delighted that Obus has signed to be our professional, he is a special talent who will be an exciting addition for us next season.
“He covers a lot of bases, he has played in our conditions before and he will be able to hit the ground running. We have everybody else back next season, so with Obus coming in for Matt, who wasn’t able to return, I’m confident we have a squad capable of challenging on all fronts.”
Pienaar, who is 28, will bat in the middle order and in recent years he has developed his left-arm spinners to the extent that he took 31 wickets at an average of 18 for Clontarf last season. He also plundered 659 runs in 2018 for the Dubliners.
“When we were looking at options it was hard to look past Obus once we knew he was available,” said Jones.
“Let’s be honest, there will be some psychological scarring for some teams from the years he was here previously and that was part of our thinking in signing him.”
CI chairman Richard Heasley said a big part of Pieenar’s role next summer will be coaching as the club look to plan for the long-term future.
“We obviously wanted a good pro who will be a top player for the first eleven but also someone who is going to be a role model for the kids, and who is going to be heavily involved in coaching, and Obus ticks all those boxes. We have over 200 kids at Kwik cricket and teams at under-11, under-13 and under-15s and Obus will be doing a lot to bring on those young players. We have to think of the future.”
Pienaar will be working alongside James Cameron-Dow, the club’s new head of youth coaching, to develop the next generation of young players at CI, Heasley added.