BINGLEY Congs' overseas star this season, Johandre Barnard, is seemingly underwhelmed by his average of 58 this season.

What makes his disappointment even more extraordinary is that this talented South African opener has spent the last decade batting the wrong way round.

The 26-year-old developed Duane Syndrome as a teenager, a condition which affects the muscles and nerves around one eye, stopping it from working as it should.

This rare disorder meant that Barnard was forced to learn to bat left-handed, having played as a right-hander right through school and up to the age of 17.

Speaking to the T&A he said: "I'd been batting right handed my whole life. I was averaging about 80-odd in my school years, but then I got this Duane Syndrome.

"I was taught by a guy, Conrad de Swardt (a former first-class cricketer in South Africa), to bat left-handed from the age of 17.

"I was working on hand-eye co-ordination all the time, that was my focus.

"I had lots of training. I was training for about three hours, two or three times a week, working on positions and hand-eye co-ordination, as well as seeing an eye specialist.

"It just developed into me turning into a left-handed batsman in the end."

Barnard comes across as modest and self-depreciating throughout the interview, perhaps not fully realising his worth to Congs in the Craven League.

That they finished second in Division One behind Crossflatts was largely down Barnard's 985 runs at 57.94. He also hit 234 cup runs at 58.50.

Those averages are even more impressive when you consider that Barnard only finished an innings not out on one occasion.

He disagrees though, saying: "To be honest, it's been all right. I was disappointed not to get 1,000 league runs though. I'm a team player obviously, and all of this wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for them. I felt that I had to score runs for them."

It was that one aforementioned not out score that remains the standout moment for him.

He enthused: "My personal highlight was when I scored my first hundred against Long Lee in June (112no in an eight-wicket win).

"I'd been hit for quite a few runs in that game (0-49 off four overs) so that was when I got into that mental mindset that I needed to bounce back and show the guys that I was here to play cricket. That's where everything started."

Speaking about his time in England, Barnard said: "All of the guys in the team have been so great to me. It's my first year abroad and I can't thank them enough for what they've done for me this season.

"It's gone well. Culture-wise it's definitely different. I struggled with the accent at first but I got used to the banter and that's encouraged my journey over here."

Barnard, who has played alongside South African internationals like Quentin de Kock and Andile Phehlukwayo back home, said: "The competition has been good in the Craven League but as a cricketer, you can always play at a higher level.

"You just have to push yourself to that limit. You have to climb the ladder.

"I most definitely want to return to England next year. I haven't decided on a certain club yet but I'd love to come back to Congs.

"I've told everyone that I'll decide as soon as I get to South Africa but for now I just want to enjoy the moment and thank everyone for the opportunity I've been given (this year)."