Cricket in his soul

2014-01-28 00:00

TALKING cricket to Sibonelo “Sibs” Makhanya (17), it’s clear to see the DHS youngster is excited about the game as he puts in place the ingredients needed to progress to the highest level of the sport.

He is a cricketer in the Jonty Rhodes mould — bouncy, energetic, wanting to be involved in the game — and his eyes light up when chatting on the finer points of the game.

He grew up in Verulam, where he attended primary school before going to Glenwood High School from Grade 8 to 10. Then he went across the road to DHS, where he completed his schooling as a boarder, quietly working on his budding cricket career in the process.

“I started playing cricket when I was 10, getting involved in the Bakers Mini-Cricket programme,” said Sibonelo. “It was here I was first exposed to the game and sowed the seed in my soul of wanting to be a cricket player.”

Sibs is an all-rounder, a right-hand middle order batsman and medium pace, first change bowler. While it takes hard work to excel at both, it suits a player who wants to contribute in all aspects of the game.

“Being able to bat and bowl balances my game. If I fail with the bat, I can still contribute with the ball and vice-versa,” he said.

Although he started playing at primary school, it was at club level where Sibonelo honed his skills before taking off at high school level.

“I think I played one match at primary school. The rest of my cricket experience was in Verulam, at club level,” he said.

At high school, the youngster captained the U14A and U15A sides, selected for the KZN U15 side for two years, one as captain.

“At DHS I played in Coke Week for two years [2012/13] and captained the coastal side last year,” he said.

“I played in the DHS firsts for two years and was captain last year. At the 2012 Coke Week I was the leading wicket taker, but missed selection for the SA Schools side.”

Undeterred, Sibonelo looked ahead. He was awarded honours for cricket at DHS and twice made the Dolphins side for Cubs Week, captaining the side earlier this month in Stellenbosch.

“This time around I obviously did enough to catch the selectors’ eyes and was chosen for the SA U19 side for the U19 World Cup in Dubai next month,” he said.

“This was my biggest and most important goal and focusing on it, wanting it so badly, paid off for me.”

The World Cup would be more than the icing on top of the youngster’s fledgling cricket career.

“That’s a massive prize, the biggest of all right now. Myself and the team have put in a huge effort preparing for the tournament,” he said.

“I have attended three intense training camps in Pretoria where we have worked on the physical and mental demands of cricket at the highest level.”

There’s one more training camp before the squad departs and for Sibs, it’s the first time he will play cricket overseas.

“That is also a major highlight for me. Finally I am spreading my cricket wings beyond South Africa,” he said.

So keen is Sibonelo on making his cricket career take off, he is enjoying a gap year in 2014 to enable him to give cricket a full go.

“Obviously the World Cup is the prime target, but after that, I will be at the Dolphins Academy, hopefully getting a nod for the three-day provincial side,” he said.

“I have been training with the squad since last year, working with coach Roger Telemachus. Thereafter, it’s a case of looking up and climbing the rungs of the ladder.”

With that star in his eye, the young cricketer is prepared to make the sacrifices he knows will be to his advantage in time to come.

“There’s plenty of sacrifices to make. It’s about being disciplined,” he said.

“At DHS, with the school’s rich cricket tradition, I appreciated the value of the game and getting my name on the honours board with some legends of the game. It was the ideal starting point to make me hunger for more in the great game.”

Next year, Sibonelo plans to start studying towards a BComm degree but, for the meanwhile, he will continue to do the business on the cricket field.

Makhanya at a glance

Likes fielding in the in-field

Played rugby at outside centre from U14 to U16 level

Has played soccer for the DHS boarders team

Manchester United and Kaizer Chiefs fan

Enjoys time with friends and on the beach to clear his mind

Can cook. Makes a mean omelette and a noodles and tuna dish

Favourite meal is ribs or wraps with avocado

Coming from Verulam, enjoys a good curry

Doesn’t enjoy reading

Likes music — Hip hop, Electro, House

Big movie watcher - Fast and Furious, Columbiana, Olympus has Fallen — are favourites

His dad is his biggest supporter and disciplinarian

Dolphins player Prenelan Subrayen is his role model

Highest score is 103* for KZN U19 v Griquas

Best bowling - two six-wicket hauls for DHS 1sts

Is a Fifa 13/14 champ on Playstation 3

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