'Need to get more black players in the game' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Need to get more black players in the game'

The story of Makhaya Ntini is the stuff dreams are made of. Coming into the side from where he did - he tended cattle in a nondescript village in Eastern Cape - and going on to finish as one of South Africa's great fast bowlers has been nothing but remarkable. Subhash Rajta reports.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2011 23:38 IST
Subhash Rajta

The story of Makhaya Ntini is the stuff dreams are made of. Coming into the side from where he did - he tended cattle in a nondescript village in Eastern Cape - and going on to finish as one of South Africa's great fast bowlers has been nothing but remarkable.

The fast bowler, who took 390 Test wickets, will turn out for South Africa one last time in a T20 game against India on January 9. HT caught up with him to discuss about his career and plans.

Excerpts:

This is going to be your last outing for South Africa. Are you emotional?
Well, the feeling is not there yet, it will come with time. But to be honest, it will be a historic day. Turning out for South Africa for the last time that will mark 150 years of Indians arriving in South Africa and then to be honoured with a legend like Sachin Tendulkar is unbelievable.

Yours has been a fascinating journey. How do you look back?
Cricket has been a wonderful journey for me. I have enjoyed every single moment, records that I broke and those I still hold. It's not easy to leave the game but then time comes when you have to.

You have had many memorable moments in your career. Which stands out?
When you are growing up and playing cricket at school and provincial level, one thing you want to do is play for the country. So for me, the most memorable moment has to be when Hansie Cronje handed me my debut cap at this stadium in 1997. It all started from here. But my success wouldn't have been possible without the team.

You were a symbol of the rise of black people in South African cricket. Did that put additional pressure on you?
That didn't put any pressure on me. The people who come after me will feel that. People will remind them what I have done and what I've achieved and that they have big shoes to step in. What I would have wanted though is that we should get more black cricketers in at an early age and give them more opportunities to understand the game.

Is that the idea behind your plan to start an academy?
That's why I want to start an academy in the Eastern Cape, from where black cricketers come from. I would like to see at least five to six black cricketers on the verge of breaking into the highest level. Right now, you have one black cricketer playing at the top, and once he goes, you need to go out in search of another.