Behardien’s stellar season – he averaged 80 in the Sunfoil Series, 48.55 in the Momentum One-Day Cup and 234 in the RamSlam T20 Challenge – saw him claim the coveted Player of the Year, T20 Player of the Year, the First-Class Player of the Year and the Most Valuable Player of the Year awards.
“It’s something really special and the culmination of 12 years of hard work, a very proud moment for me. The Titans have done really well this season which has given me the platform to perform. Apart from playing a few amateur games for Western Province, I have been a one-club man and I have a passion for the Titans.
“Hopefully I can play for them for a few more years. After 12 years of playing, I kind of feel like I’ve got my doctorate now. Initially I was only able to provide glimpses and I seem to be the guy everyone loves to hate, I’ve been abused a lot. But I’m grateful to the Titans because they stuck with me.
“All that experience has now come together and is building to a head. There has always been some amazing talent at the Titans, and hopefully in a few years people will look back to myself, Heino Kuhn, Albie Morkel, Henry Davids, as being legends for the best franchise in the world. Heino and I are probably the only cricketers in the world to have won 14 domestic trophies,” said Behardien.
In one of the Titans’ greatest seasons, the 34-year-old has been the glue in the middle-order, time and again playing the situation perfectly to be the matchwinner across all three formats.
“I’m strictly a middle-order bat and playing the situation asks tough questions of you but it’s part and parcel of the position I play. You learn to deal with it much better, whatever situation is in front of me, I just try and maximise my runs in however many balls I have. When you have not too long left in your career, you also tend to play with freedom,” he said.
Behardien has lost his national contract and seems to be on the periphery of new Proteas coach Ottis Gibson’s plans, but don’t write off the 34-year-old just yet: his desire to play international cricket is as strong as ever and he remains one of the most successful and consistent batsmen in South African cricket.
“Whatever game is put in front of me, I just try and perform really well. Whenever the Titans have called, in whatever format, all three of them, in different situations, I’ve still managed to produce the goods. So I’ll be disappointed if I no longer get higher honours."
“I would love to go to next year’s World Cup, I can see myself at Lord’s scoring a hundred off 120 balls. That World Cup is a massive ambition of mine because I never played too much of a role in the previous World Cups I went to. I would love to be part of that squad, but that’s up to the powers that be,” concluded Behardien.