Tshwane Spartans’ 20-year-old paceman Lutho Sipamla is relishing the opportunity to mix it with some of the big names in the Mzansi Super League while learning from the seasoned pros in the Spartans change room.
Sipamla made an instant impression in the inaugural MSL after his fiery debut against the Cape Town Blitz when he returned 0-38 as the Blitz hit 180-4. Next match he took 1-37 in the thrilling one-run win over the Paarl Rocks in a high-scoring match in Paarl.
‘It’s a great tournament and things are booming,’ said Sipamla. ‘The people are responding very nicely and there’s a great atmosphere at the grounds which gets the blood flowing and the adrenaline going.’
Sipamla enjoyed decent form during the recently completed first half of the 4-Day Franchise Series, but he has taken to the MSL like a duck to water.
‘Its very competitive and everyone comes with their A-game and tries to dominate whoever they are batting against or bowling against. It’s a great competition and it raises your game to a higher standard as you try and do your best all the time, so I’m really enjoying that.’
In the Series opener at Newlands, he proved his added value in the field by taking a stinging catch on the long-on boundary to dismiss the Blitz’ top scorer, Mohammad Nawaz.
‘I pride myself on my fielding and work very hard on it. I try and make sure I make less mistakes on the field and I try and execute every time I field the ball or get the chance to take a catch. I also make sure I do extra work with the coach whenever I get a chance.’
One of the great benefits of tournaments such as the MSL is the opportunity for young players to learn by competing against experienced campaigners, as well as through sharing a dressing room with them.
‘I’ve already had a lot of help from the senior guys in the team like Robbie Frylinck, Rory Kleinveldt and AB de Villiers. Players like them give off great energy: they are always positive and always looking for ways to go for the win. Their positivity, their great energy and focus comes easily off them and I just feed off their energy and try to learn as much as possible, because they make it easy for me as well.
‘Personally, I have just tried to keep as calm as possible when bowling and not focus on the fact that I’m bowling to a certain player – I just try and execute my plans and and ignore the fact that I’m bowling to a big name player. I focus on executing what I can control and putting the ball where I want to put it,’ adds Sipamla.
Sipamla is looking forward to Proteas paceman Lungi Ngidi forming part of the Spartans squad now that the Proteas have returned from their white ball tour of Australia.
‘I think it will be great for me to collaborate with Lungi – he’s at a higher stage as a cricketer and has learned a lot and has a lot of information. I will try and pick his brain and learn as much as I can from him so that I can raise my standards and better my own game.’
Although he didn’t pick up a wicket against the Blitz at Newlands, the contest did offer him the opportunity to gain some valuable T20 experience.
‘The fact that I had to bring the run rate down and try and contain and bowl as many dot balls as possible was a good challenge for me, and I think I learned a lot from that. You aren’t always going to strike in a T20 match, but you can still play a role by containing the batsmen and keeping the run rate down.‘
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