Ntini, SA owes you a big one

2011-01-08 15:46

Makhaya Ntini will bow out of the international cricketing arena today when he plays his final match in the green and gold against India.

The 33-year-old Eastern Cape right-arm fast bowler became the first black South African to don Proteas’ colours when he made his debut in Australia during the 1997/98 season.

Since then he has taken 390 Test wickets in 101 matches, with an average of 28.82; and 266 limited-overs wickets in 173 matches, with an average of 24.65.

Ntini became only the third South African bowler to take 300 Test wickets after Shaun Pollock and Alan Donald, and is currently the 11th highest Test wicket-taker of all time.

His final match against India today will be in the form of a Twenty20 match.

The fact that President Jacob Zuma is expected to honour him with an award on behalf of Cricket SA for his outstanding contribution to cricket speaks volumes.

Ntini, known better as Mdingi Express, has not only been an inspiration to aspiring black cricketers, but his accomplishments on the field have broken down racial barriers and opened doors in a sport that still is largely white.

Lonwabe Tsotsobe summed it up best when he said Makhaya “is not only a hero to children but definitely a ­hero to everyone who played with him”. Take a bow, Makhaya, you’ve bowled this nation over!

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