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OTD – South African legend Makhaya Ntini was born in 1977

OTD - South African legend Makhaya Ntini was born in 1977

On July 6, 1977, Makhaya Ntini was born in Mdingi village in Cape Province of South Africa. He has been celebrated as one of the most influential fast bowlers in world cricket. His career not only brought numerous victories for South Africa but also paved the way for many other cricketers of colour to represent the nation on the international stage.

Early Discovery and Rise

Ntini’s journey to cricketing stardom began in an unconventional manner. Discovered by a development officer from the Border Cricket Board, Ntini was a barefoot cattle herder whose enthusiasm for the game caught the officer’s attention. 

Despite being slightly older than the typical participants of the mini-cricket program, his talent was undeniable. Provided with a pair of shoes, Ntini’s prowess impressed Raymond Booi, who facilitated his entry into a junior cricket festival at just 15 years old. Since then, he never looked back and soon broke into the international circuit.

Breaking the barriers: International Career and personal life 

Ntini’s career almost came to an abrupt end in 1998 when he was charged and convicted of raping a 21-year-old student. However, he was later acquitted and received staunch support from the South African Cricket Board, which allowed him to continue his career.

In 1998, Ntini became the first ethnically black player to represent South Africa in international cricket, a milestone that significantly contributed to the integration of the sport in the country. His success inspired many young cricketers from diverse backgrounds to pursue the sport professionally.

South African pace battery shocked the world 

Ntini’s career is marked by several significant achievements. In 2003, he became the first South African to take 10 wickets in a match at Lord’s, earning a spot on the prestigious Lord’s honours board. His performance in the 2008 Indian Premier League (IPL) for Chennai Super Kings was also noteworthy, as he secured a hat-trick by bowling out three batsmen in consecutive deliveries, each hitting different stumps – a unique feat in cricket history.

Over his career, Ntini bowled a total of 20,834 balls in Test cricket, the second-most for South Africa behind Shaun Pollock. He retired with 390 wickets in 101 Test matches and 266 wickets in 173 One Day Internationals (ODIs).

Post-retirement, Ntini has continued to influence cricket through the Makhaya Ntini Academy, aimed at nurturing future black cricketers. He also served as a coach for Zimbabwe’s national team and briefly managed a rugby club, the Kaizer Chiefs Sevens.

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