Christi Viljoen sets his sights on playing Test cricket for South Africa

CHRISTI Viljoen is certainly not a cricketer lacking in ambition.

The Namibian international, who is playing for Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League newcomers Copdock & Old Ipswichian this season, has his sights set high.

The all-rounder revealed that his ambitions are to play not only county cricket but in the Indian Premier League and also international cricket for South Africa.

This is the start of Viljoen’s fourth stint as an overseas player in England, after previous spells in Portsmouth in 2006, Birmingham in 2009 and Sheffield a year later.

So how did he come to join Copdock?

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“A mate of mine I met in Birmingham put me in touch with the club, and also Craig Williams, one of good friends and a team mate back home, had played with Martyn Cull at Clacton,” he said.

Cull, of course, also joined Copdock this season as they embarked on their first year in the EAPL, after winning the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship last summer and then the end-of-season play-offs.

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Copdock currently sit joint top of the table going into this weekend’s round of matches, after their winning run of 19 matches stretching back to last May, ended with a draw against reigning EAPL champions Cambridge Granta last Saturday.

“Everyone is really friendly and I have settled in well so far. The two games we have played have resulted in easy wins for us, but our team seems to be very good.

“Hopefully we can do well in the league and maybe even win it, because I think our team are good enough to do so.”

Viljoen, who is coaching the first team and one of the junior sides at Copdock, said: “My individual target is to finish top of the averages and to be an integral part of Copdock doing well by doing my bit for the team.”

The 24-year-old, who considers himself to be equally a batsman and a bowler, top-scored with 98 for an ICC XI against an England attack including James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Steve Finn and Graeme Swann in their final warm-up game before the First Test of their winter series against Pakistan.

Viljoen said: “Playing against England was my biggest experience yet. It was a big learning curve and I learnt a lot from playing in that game, and the fact that I did well was the cherry on the cake for me.”

He hopes to earn selection when the next ICC team, which comprises some of the leading players from associate and affiliate teams, is selected.

Viljoen is fully aware that his performance in the forthcoming match against Kenya in the Inter Continental Cup is crucial to his chances.

Namibia will be playing in Nairobi from June 6-9 and Viljoen will be away for a fortnight, missing two EAPL matches.

“If I do well and stay near the top of the wicket-takers it will help me earn selection for the team again,” said Viljoen, who is hoping to get some games for Essex 2nd XI this summer.

“It would be a dream come true to play first-class cricket in this country, but I would also like to play in the IPL and one day go back to South Africa and play international cricket for them.”

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