Raisibe Ntozakhe is determined to become a fixture in the Proteas side after their run to the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Ntozakhe was called up to the Proteas squad prior to the quadrangular series featuring India, Ireland and Zimbabwe. Her impact was immediate, as she returned figures of 3-8 against Zimbabwe on debut.
Despite acquitting herself well throughout the series, the spinner was realistic about the part she’d play in the World Cup campaign, with experienced tweakers Dane van Niekerk and Sune Luus preferred to her.
‘I knew coming into this World Cup that I probably wouldn’t get a game, but the learning opportunity alone was more than worth it,’ Notzakhe said.
‘I would wake up and still pinch myself just to check that this is real, I am in England at the ICC World Cup. It’s been the highlight of my career and maybe even my life so far.’
Ntozakhe cited captain Van Niekerk’s search for perfection as a source of inspiration.
‘Watching my captain, Dané [van Niekerk], do her work has been so inspiring. She makes me want to do better and to push and work harder. She’s definitely my role model.
‘When someone takes four wickets for none and still comes back to the change room and says “I could have done more,” you can’t help but admire that person and their work ethic.’
Ntozakhe also spoke of the invaluable knowledge head coach Hilton Moreeng imparted during discussions on the side of the field.
‘The man is just incredible. He knows cricket like the back of his hand, and I’d sit next to him and he’d tell me about certain situations in the game, and I’d be shocked when it goes down exactly the way he predicted.
‘Getting to know him and sitting with him during games made me know the game better, and now I know it’s not only about being on the field and doing all those things, there’s a role to be played off the field and there are lessons to be taken even while sitting on the sidelines and observing.’
To date, Ntozakhe has made five appearances for the national side with a best return of 3-8.