Despite a first season of senior cricket blighted by injury, young quick Lifa Ntanzi finished on a high with his Dolphins debut and followed that up with securing a contract with the Durban-based franchise for the upcoming season.
Hailing from Umlazi, Ntanzi is one of the shining lights for the KZNCU, DSR & Sunfoil Township & Rural Development Programme as he was earmarked through the initiative to attend Glenwood High School.
From there the speedster earned a SA Schools call-up and then was selected for the SA U19 side only to miss the 2019 World Cup due to injury.
To receive a franchise contract is a dream come true for the 18-year-old, but he says the recognition was as much an achievement for him as it was for some of the people that have helped him through his career.
‘My parents were really, really happy when I told them that I had got a Dolphins contract,’ Ntanzi said. ‘Not only them but also my coaches from Umlazi Cricket Club because I am the first player from the club to get a franchise contract.
‘They were so happy for me but it also shows how important the work is that they do in the township.’
Ntanzi has taken on the mantle of role model for those in the township that might want to pursue a career in cricket.
‘I think that it’s important for me to be able to be an example for the young boys and girls in Umlazi and I hope that I can encourage as many young children to play cricket and follow their dreams,’ he added.
Ntanzi, along with fellow young signing Andile Mogakane, made his debut for the Dolphins in their One-Day Cup clash with the Lions in Potchefstroom and it was a day he will never forget.
‘To make my debut for the Dolphins was so special,’ he reminisced. ‘I knew that I had just come back from injury but I had to give my best and I think it went well for me.
‘To be in a side with so many great cricketers was a dream come true and I cannot wait to get the new season started.’
Ntanzi has been earmarked as one of the next best as he was supposed to take part in a fast bowlers camp with Proteas bowling coach Charl Langeveldt during the winter. This was cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus.
With his winter programme upended, Ntanzi is just trying to keep a narrow focus before he is able to return to action later in the year.
‘I think that at the moment I just need to concentrate on staying fit,’ he commented. ‘Gavin Muir and the Dolphins and Brendan Jackson have been working closely with me and I want to thank Gavin for all his hard work.
‘If I can keep fit and then get myself into the Dolphins side, then I’ll be very happy.’
He’s got a number of experienced bowlers around him at the Dolphins but singled out Daryn Dupavillon as someone who has played a big role in a short period of time.
‘I think because we are similar bowlers he has been great in telling me how I should go about things. He is supportive and I find that he is a great person to learn from,’ he added.
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