The next Ntini?

2013-08-28 00:00

HE’S fast, he’s mean and he wants to be the next Makhaya Ntini.

Glenwood High School’s Andile Phehlukwayo (17), a Grade 11 pupil, is well set to realise his dream, the only KwaZulu-Natal coastal player selected for the SA U19 cricket tour to India next month.

He’s been in Glenwood’s first team since last year as the new ball strike bowler, and his selection for India is an indication of his raw talent and prospects for the future.

“I am one of the youngest players in the side and the bonus is I will still qualify for selection next year if I maintain or better my current level,” said Andile.

The journey started for Andile in Grade 3, at Margate Primary School, where he started playing the game. Throughout high school he has produced the goods as an attacking bowler who varies his pace. The trip to India is the first time he travels beyond South Africa’s borders.

“It’s been hard work, but look how it has turned out for me,” he said. “I attended a national training camp at Tuks in Pretoria from July 4 to July 7 this year, which was quite intense.

“We trained at the High Performance Centre, focusing on all aspects of the game, including fitness and the mental approach to what we will encounter in India.”

At the training camp, the players were under the watchful eye of Ray Jennings, the current coach of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. As a past cricketer at provincial and national level during the rebel tour years, he ensured the youngsters appreciated their opportunities.

“He is a no-nonsense coach. He knows what he wants and expects players to deliver. He is a strict man,” said Andile.

It won’t be easy on the pitches of India for the youngster, but he is prepared for the challenge.

“We did discuss this at the camp and the key is to adapt to conditions. Varying pace is vital, and our game plan is to attack and go hard early on, with the spinners coming into their own later in the game,” said Andile.

Seeing himself as a bowling all rounder, Andile, who bowls right-handed and bats left, bats in the top six at school level, but would be at nine or 10 for the SA side. He has a top score of 108, scored last year against Woodridge on the school’s tour to East London. His best effort with the ball is 4-21 against Maritzburg College last year. This effort set up a home win for Glenwood against their inland rivals.

Outside of school, Andile plays club cricket for African Warriors and his ambition after school is to pick up a contract at any franchise to further his involvement in the game.

“I also play hockey for Glenwood’s first team and am in the SA Youth Olympic squad,” he said. “At this stage, I can still manage all my sport and academics, but I am a little concerned at what’s going to happen when I am in India. I am unsure of how I will catch up the work that I will be missing.”

Knowing that the life of a cricketer, particularly a fast bowler, is limited, Andile is looking at sport management in sport psychology as a future career.

“For the moment, my goal is to maintain, achieve and perform at the level I have reached. This tour to India will be the ultimate gauge for me, to see where I am — especially if I get to bat and have to face some serious spin. That will be a test for me,” he said.


• He doesn’t follow any special diet, as being a boarder at Glenwood he eats whatever is on the daily menu.

• Other than cricket and hockey, he enjoys the beach and chilling with friends.

• He is currently reading To the Point, Herschelle Gibbs’s autobiography.

• His role models are Dale Steyn and Dolphins bowler Mthokozisi Shezi, a Glenwood old boy.

• Although his bowling speed has not been recorded, he estimates he bowls around the 125 km/h to 130 km/h mark.

• He prefers to be relaxed before taking to the field.

• When his team are up against things, he prefers to be alone with his own thoughts, working out what needs to be done.

• He is a firm believer that good, hard work achieves results.

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