Maritzburg College boy walks in footsteps of Ntini

2013-08-03 00:00

MARITZBURG College’s Lwandiswa Zuma dreams of being the next Makhaya Ntini.

The 17-year-old Grade 11 pupil, who opens the bowling for College’s first team, has a passion for cricket.

“I’ve been playing it since I was seven,” the fast bowler told The Witness.

“When I was in grade one [at Athlone Primary School], we were taken to a field and they made us choose a sport and I chose cricket.”

But, he could have been lost to the game, had his other love, for football, continued into his teens.

“I wasn’t a huge cricket fan until I was about 12. Before then I was big into football, and I was even part of the Maritzburg United development side.”

However, as his cricket improved, so did his passion for the sport. His dream of playing for the Proteas squad began when he was chosen to represent the KZN Inland U13 team. He played in the shadow of Table Mountain on the hallowed turf of the Newlands cricket ground.

The game was yet to take him further.

“After playing for the KZN Inland team in 2010, I was approached with the opportunity to go to England with the Tommy Hammond Invitational team. We went to England, and played 11 games. We won 10 and drew one.”

In grades 8 and 9, Lwandiswa was selected to play for the KZN U15 side. In Grade 10 — while only 16 — he was chosen for the first team, and selected to represent KZN Inland at the Khaya Majola Cricket Week. It culminated in him being selected to a national U19 training camp.

This year he returned to England as a member of the Leopards Invitational team.

“The experience was fantastic, but it didn’t go as well. We played 11 games, winning five, losing five and drawing one.”

His immediate goal for the year was to make the KZN Cubs side after the Khaya Majola Week in December.

“I’m in no rush to make the SA Schools side. I still have next year. My main goal this year is making the [CSA Franchise] Cubs Week.”

He idolises Makhaya Ntini, and looks to him as the example of what is achievable.

“The way he carries himself, and the way he looks after himself. He’s always worked hard, and those are the qualities I want to apply to my game.”

College has produced some of the finest cricketers, including Jonty Rhodes, David Miller and Kevin Pietersen.

“Those guys were all coached by Mike Bechet. It’s unfortunate that he is no longer there, but I have to get my attitude straight and work hard with the new coach.

“I do see myself as a South African national team bowler one day.”

Seeing his parents watching him on the side of the field is another thing that inspires him.

“It’s so motivating seeing them watching me. The urge to give up never comes when I realise that my parents are always there.”

His father, Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma, says Lwandiswa is very passionate about cricket.

“He is very disciplined, organised, and he respects the game. Even during holidays, you will find him doing exercises on his own.

“As parents, we can give him all the support he needs to fulfil his goal. We are confident that with the effort he is putting in, the possibilities are great.”

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