Many handshakes make light work in cricket

South African cricketers Ranwell Classen (amateur) and Rushdie Jappie (professional).   Pic Michael Gillen
South African cricketers Ranwell Classen (amateur) and Rushdie Jappie (professional). Pic Michael Gillen

Scottish men can have a natural reticence to over- friendliness.

Yes, greetings in this country are warm, a firm handshake or even a slap on the back from the extroverts, but nothing compared to Stenhousemuir’s new cricket professional Rushdie Jappie.

He shakes hands - a lot. In greeting, in departure, in thanks, in ending a conversation. The works. But the South African is not in the slightest bit over-bearing.

“It’s just something we do back home a lot, it’s in my culture,” he explained.

“It’s a mark of respect. I could shake hands maybe ten or 20 times and I could only be at home with my dad.”

While Rushdie is showing respect to his new surroundings, he’s also earning it from his new club.

His pleasant and level-headed manner, plus innumerable warm hand-shakes, are winning him friends, but his cricket is blowing some at Stenhousemuir away.

An innings of 161 a fortnight ago was heralded as a sight many who witnessed it would struggle to forget and bodes well for Stenhousemuir’s season.

Jappie comes with previous when it comes to achieving success having led Newcastle, his previous club to promotion.

“Newcastle got promoted to the highest league to play in and all the guys at the club pulled through and thats always a good thing,” the 25-year-old told Heraldsport.

“I got offered another contract but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and push myself. I wanted a new challenge and to meet new people and create another future for myself and make a nice big dent on the world. This is the next step.”

Sop far Stenhousemuir have been great with me and there’s a good vibe around the club. Everyone is keen to work hard and that can only be good for the club.”

Jappie is contributing to that vibe though. He has breezed into the Tryst along with amateur Ranwill Claasen. The pair train together during the day, when they can avoid the rain.

Jappie is used to that though, and is often joined by fellow countryman Bobby Jowe who is at west coast club Irvine when he’s not at home in Stenhousemuir or working out - indoors - at the Mariner Centre.

“I played in Newcastle for two years last year and it has similar conditions - it is also very wet because it’s up north as well, it’s all an experience especially at the start of the season with the wickets being soft and slow and the ball deviating a bit.

“My first six days I saw rain constantly and managed only two and a half hours. The previous days we had been out in the nets and every time it was my turn to take the bat there was a shower - so Ranwill had the bat all the time to keep the rain off,

Hopefully the sun can come out more and I’m looking forward to the tail end of the season with the sun coming out and heating up the wickets, drying out the surface and that will make things a lot better.

“Although Ranwill said I’m training him in The Falkirk Herald last week, I’m not his personal trainer and I’m showing him a few things and he’s helping me with my technique, we are helping each other.

“I have experience of the surface in Newcastle but I have been helping him just as much as he’s been teaching me.

“It will take a lot of time for him to deal with the new wickets but he is learning quickly and is very keen and hopefully we’ll be well prepared when big games come along.”

The pair have struck up a friendship already, and “there’s never a dull moment with Ranwill around,” says Jappie.

“But we’re here for a reason and that’s to help Stenhousemuir.”

That sort of attitude, and close-knit combination could lead to successful handshakes all round come departure time in September.