Farewell: Salute to a cricketing hero

2011-01-10 00:00

THE result hardly mattered yesterday as Makhaya Ntni’s farewell from international cricket saw a host of dignitaries and celebrities flock to the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

India won the T20 contest by 21 runs, but Ntini’s belated goodbye took centre stage.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you for all of your support through my 12 years playing for South Africa,” the ‘Mdingi Express’ said after the match.

Sachin Tendulkar, who sat out yesterday’s match, was also honoured for his achievements in the game by Cricket South Africa.

“It is great to be part of this wonderful day, and I would just like to congratulate Makhaya on an outstanding career,” the Indian maestro said.

President Jacob Zuma, who expressed a desire for the event to become an annual fixture, led a host of public figures in attendance, and was joined by deputy Sports and Recreation Minister Gert Oosthuizen, KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize and even Orlando Pirates supremo Irvin Khoza in the stands.

The match was followed by the New Age Friendship Celebration concert, and headline act Shah Rukh Khan coaxed several South African players onto the stage.

Rusty Theron did a rap number, AB de Villiers sang, Wayne Parnell learnt Hindi pick-up lines and JP Duminy was taught a few choice sledges to counter S. Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh on the field.

The highlight was when Ntini joined his team-mates, Khan and a dancer on stage to do a jig in front of the 50 000 spectators.

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