Western Province’s Thando Ntini still has his eyes set on becoming an all-rounder, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
It’s been two years since my last sit down with Ntini. The boy has become a man and matured into the fast-paced life in Cape Town after leaving his home city – East London – to grow his cricket career.
The lean 18-year-old has shown his devotion to the sport and respect to the Ntini name by rising through the system to become one of the top talents in the country.
Despite his father’s legacy, Thando chose to forge his own path by leaving Border (and Selbourne) for Western Province (and Wynberg Boys’ High School). He has also shifted his attention from being a bowler to an all-rounder, with his ultimate focus being on improving his batting skills.
‘I’m just batting at the moment,’ Ntini told SACricketmag.com.
‘I’m bowling a little bit, but I’m batting in the middle order – No 5 and No 6 – for Wynberg Boys. For Province, I’m trying to work myself into that middle order. So, my batting is coming along really well.’
It hasn’t been easy for Ntini to stake his claim and he is currently working hard on recovering from an injury, while still aiming to get through the stressful demands of preparing for his matric exams.
Despite playing exceptionally well for South Africa U19 – and receiving his semi-pro contract with Western Province as a result – Ntini has only played three T20s for the senior side, which came during the Africa T20 Cup in September.
Ntini let us in on some of the troubles he endured.
‘There’s been a lot,’ Ntini said about his struggles, ‘but I think the biggest one for me was my injury after the West Indies tour last year. I got a stress fracture, but by God’s grace it wasn’t too serious and I was able to manage it and nurse it.
‘I’m still waiting for the right time so I can have the off-season that I have always wanted in the last three years.’
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images