Young Zuma’s dream takes off

2016-11-30 06:00
Lwandiswa Zuma of the Knights celebrates the wicket of Aviwe Mgijima of the Cobras during their T20 Challenge match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday. PHOTO: gallo images

Lwandiswa Zuma of the Knights celebrates the wicket of Aviwe Mgijima of the Cobras during their T20 Challenge match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday. PHOTO: gallo images

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AT the Knights CSA T20 Challenge clash against the Cape Cobras at Wanderers in Johannesburg, Lwandiswa Zuma made his professional cricket debut for his Bloemfontein-based franchise.

It was the realisation of a long dream, which began when Zuma was 14, and a pupil at Athlone Primary School here in Pietermaritzburg.

It was his time at Maritzburg College where his cricket really flourished.

In his matric year, Zuma made the SA Schools team in which he played alongside new Proteas ODI star Andile Phehlukwayo.

“It’s been the longest journey for me, and I’ve had injuries, but finally making my debut for the Knights was a dream come true,” the 20-year-old said.

The Knights won their game against the Cobras and, in his fourth and final over, he picked up his first senior wicket in the form of experienced campaigner Aviwe Mgijima, and his celebration was a release of the emotion that saw him reach that moment.

“I didn’t plan to celebrate the way I did. It just happened spontaneously. I was overcome with emotion and I just decided there and then to celebrate the way I did. It wasn’t planned,” he said.

Zuma wasn’t looking too far ahead, and was focusing on the moment, and taking his fledgling cricket career one game at a time before taking things a little further and making the move up to first-class cricket.

“I’m not looking at playing Sunfoil Series right now. I’d definitely love to play in it in the future, but for now I’m focusing on the moment and taking my career one step at a time.”

Zuma’s career starts at a time when there are a number of exciting young bowlers coming through and, even though they’re more or less the same age as he is, he still looks up to them, and is inspired by what they’ve done.

Hilton College Old Boy Lungi Ngidi has been impressing week in and week out at the Titans, while Phehlukwayo’s senior international career exploded in Durban a month ago.

And, there is Kagiso Rabada.

“Guys like Kagiso, Lungi and Andile are guys players my age look up to. Lungi and I come a long way together. And, it’s strange to think about it because we’re the same age, but what he’s done so far has inspired me. More so with Kagiso, who is now world-renowned,” Zuma said.

For Zuma, the most memorable moment from Sunday afternoon’s game that he will keep with him for the rest of his life was receiving his cap before the game from the legendary Allan Donald.

“Every young boy grew up idolising Allan Donald, and I was no different. We worked with Allan Donald prior to his appointment in Australia and, now that he is back, to have a guy of that calibre around, many young players would kill for. It’s an absolute joy and an honour to be able to work with him,” he continued.

The other big star in the Knights side he looked up to was of course David Miller, who attended the same alma mater as he did.

“He is a great leader to have in the side, and one of the very best in the world. When I first met him, I asked him if he still remembered the ‘Fuller Quote’, and he recited it,” said Zuma.

Zuma’s father is Maritzburg United marketing manager and former Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Brian Zuma, who expressed his delight yesterday at watching his son making his debut for his franchise.

“As parents, we are very excited he has realised his dream of playing professional cricket. When he was young, he idolised Makhaya Ntini. He’s worked very hard, and is now very close to realising his ultimate dream of playing for South Africa,” the elder Zuma said.

Lwandiswa finished Sunday’s game against the Cobras with bowling figures of 1-20 from his five overs, and was the most economical of the Knights bowlers. His next game is this Friday against the Titans, where he will be reunited with his old friend Ngidi.

On 11 December the Knights will face the Dolphins in Durban, and playing in his home province is an occasion he is looking forward to.

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