South Africa's Ntini relishing strike role
Makhaya Ntini, the first black cricketer to command a regular place in the South Africa team, is relishing the role of strike bowler.india Updated: Oct 17, 2003 15:00 IST
Makhaya Ntini, the first black cricketer to command a regular place in the South Africa team, is relishing the role of strike bowler in the world's second-ranked side.
The 26-year-old from Cape Province, who has taken 123 wickets in 36 tests, said the secret of his success was to keep away from politics and concentrate on performance.
"There is a place for everyone in the team as long as you keep away from politics and wait for the right time," Ntini told Reuters.
"It is about believing and waiting for the right time," he added. "I don't compare myself with anyone and believe I have a job in the team just like everyone else. Everyone is equal. I have made quite a bit of progress because of this."
"I have been given the role of a striker bowler and I now count myself among the top 10 bowlers of the world," he added.
Ntini had a fine match at Lord's on the recent tour of England, becoming the first South African to take 10 wickets in a test at the home of cricket.
"It is a special moment for me," he said. "The atmosphere was unforgettable. It is a honour to have your name up there with just 10 other bowlers who have achieved this honour at Lord's."
Ntini, who has also taken 134 wickets in 85 one-dayers, said late West Indies fast bowler Malcolm Marshall had played a big role in his development.
"I have modelled myself on him and he had a very big influence on me. I learned from him," he said.
Ntini was South Africa's best bowler in the recent one-day series in Pakistan, taking 12 wickets after a poor first match when he bowled three overs for 26 runs.
"It was a bad time. But I believe it is always in your mind and you go back to your basics and practise," he said. "I did that and immediately felt comfortable."
Ntini, who has rebuilt his career after being found guilty of rape in 1999 but later acquitted on appeal, also paid tribute to the influence of leading South Africa fast bowlers Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald.
"Their advice has been invaluable for me, particularly on tours to the sub-continent," he said.