Built like a fast bowler – tall, broad-shouldered and strong – Hardus Viljoen became one of those that got away from a country with an embarrassment of resources in his department. In December 2016, Viljoen signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Derbyshire to put on hold a possible international career. At the time, Viljoen had played just one Test but had established himself as the leader of the Lions’ pack and was a regular in South African A sides.
His ability to bowl quickly and unleash a mean bouncer are Viljoen’s greatest assets and they were evident from the early days of his career. He started at Eastern, in Benoni, where he rose to prominence in the 2010-11 season. He finished second on the provincial three-day bowling charts. He was signed by the Lions and quickly found a home at the Wanderers, whose fast, bouncy track suited his style.
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