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Makhaya Ntini (1977 – )

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Silver
Makhaya Ntini (1977 – ) Awarded for:
His excellent personal achievements in cricket and serving as an inspiration to up-and-coming black South African cricketers.
Profile of Makhaya Ntini

South Africa’s first black national cricketer and premier fast bowler, Makhaya Ntini, was born in Mdingi, near King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape, in 1977.

The holder of records for the best bowling performance by a South African in a test match and in a one-day international (ODI), Ntini comes from a humble rural village where he was a cattle herder.

He was discovered by Border cricket development officer, Raymond Booi, who randomly asked Ntini to bowl a ball as he passed by on his way to fetch cattle. Booi was stunned by Ntini’s wild but fast throw of the ball, believing him to possess enough raw talent for development.

Booi arranged for Ntini to attend Dale College in King William’s Town to develop his game.

Ntini’s action was intentionally modelled on the West Indian great Malcolm Marshall.

Ntini represented Border Schools at the Nuffield Week (U-19 interprovincial) in 1994 and 1995, and in 1995 was also selected for the national age-group team.

He made his first-class debut against the touring England team in November 1995, claiming Alec Stewart as his first first-class victim.

In 1997, Ntini was included in the South African squad to tour Australia.

He made his South African ODI debut in Perth in 1998 against New Zealand where he took two wickets for 30 runs off his quota of 10 overs.

Ntini made his international test debut against Sri Lanka in Cape Town in 1998, becoming South Africa’s first black test cricketer in a match in which he claimed two wickets.

In 2003, Ntini became the first South African to take 10 wickets at Lord’s Cricket Ground. He went on to better this record-breaking performance in 2005 when he took 13 wickets for 132 runs against the West Indies at Port of Spain, establishing the best bowling performance by a South African in a test match.

In 2006, Ntini went on to achieve the best bowling figures by a South African in an ODI, demolishing Australia with figures of six wickets for 22 runs.

In early 2007, Ntini took his 300th test wicket, in his 74th test, and by the end of the year was ranked by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the world’s third-best test bowler and the ninth-best ODI bowler.

That same year, after 10 years of playing cricket for his country, Ntini was honoured with a benefit year in which he led an Invitation XI in aid of a benefit granted by the Border Cricket Board.

Ntini set another record when he was named South Africa’s most popular sportsperson, the first time the honour had been bestowed on a cricketer.

In 2007, Ntini put his popularity behind the ICC, UNAIDS and United Nations Children’s Fund campaign Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS.

Ntini claimed his 350th test wicket in his 90th test in 2008 and he may be credited for helping make cricket South Africa’s second-most popular sport with his inspiring life story and winning ways and personality.

Despite his rural upbringing with no facilities, coaching and inspiring role models, Makhaya Ntini has used the fortuitous encounter with a cricket scout to consolidate his talent into a formidable force internationally. He continues to inspire young aspiring cricketers.