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Back You are here: Home Sports Cricket Kwa Zulu Natal Lwandiswa Zuma - The Next Ntini?
Monday, 30 September 2013 02:00

Lwandiswa Zuma - The Next Ntini?

Written by  Jonathan Cook

Fourth former Lwandiswa Zuma picked up five wickets for five runs in a match-winning spell for Maritzburg College at the St David’s Twenty20 Festival back in 2012 in Johannesburg to signal that he means business.

zuma“The acknowledgement from my team-mates has motivated me to excel for the school,” Zuma says after a Maritzburg College first XI net practice on the hallowed turf of Goldstones, that renowned schoolboy cricket and rugby ground that has been the scene of many memorable moments for an untold number of Springbok and Proteas aspirants for almost 150 years.

“The recognition I received from my team-mates makes me want to do better every time I pull on the College first XI cap.”

The story started in Grade six at Athlone Primary when Zuma made KZN Inland U13B aged 12 after a promising soccer career for Maritzburg United juniors was overtaken by a love for getting that shiny red cricket ball in his hand and knocking batsmen over.

“It was in grade six that I started taking cricket seriously,” says the immediately likeable paceman.

“After being selected for KZN Inland U13B in 2008 it was the following year that I made a provincial A team for the first time when I represented the province at the Standard Bank Cricket Week in Cape Town, where I realised my dream of playing at Newlands.

“It was simply amazing to play on that beautiful ground, which has seen so many famous cricketers excel for South Africa over so many years.”

Zuma says it was at that point that his love for soccer lessened.

“It was the beginning of that special feeling I get when I have that new ball in my hands; it is a feeling that is so comfortable.

“I was initially an all-rounder but with the bat you only get one, maybe two chances during an innings while as a bowler a batsman can hit you for six and next over you can get him out,” enthuses the cricket-crazy Zuma as he prepares to do shuttle runs after nets are over for the day.

“My role since promotion to the first XI at College has been to squeeze batsmen out, as we already have very good strike bowlers, but my time will come to hurt batsmen up front,” says Zuma with a palpably threatening look in his eyes as he gazes at his beloved cricket pitch on Goldstones, Maritzburg College’s famous theatre of dreams.

“I might not be bowling first-up at this stage but I am taking wickets anyway, so in some respects I am still fulfilling a strike bowler’s role.

“My goal to play first team started when I arrived at Maritzburg College in grade seven and I still have two wonderful years ahead of me in the first team. My longer-term goal is to play for the Dolphins and my dream is selection for the Proteas,” says the athlete.

“I believe that cricket is 90% mental and my College coach Mr [Mike] Bechet is hard but very fair; it’s our responsibility to build and maintain our fitness, while technically he is far and away the best coach I have ever had,” Zuma says with respect clear in his voice. “Mr Bechet also works very closely with us on our mental approach to the game.”

Zuma’s batting hero is AB de Villiers with Makhaya Ntini his bowling role model.

“Makhaya has done so much to popularise cricket in black communities while AB is also a cricketer to look up to.”

Mom and Dad’s support plays a massive role in Zuma’s success.

“They are loving, caring and come to watch me play every match possible, which gives me faith, hope, strength and motivation when I have that ball in my hand.”

The academy at Tuks in Pretoria, essentially a cricket finishing school, beckons after matric exams are completed in two years’ time.

“The focus is intensely cricket but at the same time you can study for a degree and get a coaching qualification, both of which are vital when your playing days are over,” says the sensible young man.

If his current progress up the cricketing ladder is anything to go by, don’t be surprised if you see this determined young man steaming in for the Proteas at Kingsmead and further afield in the not-too-distant future.

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