South African cricket legend Makhaya Ntini joined in on the Varsity Cricket action on Wednesday 4 September in Potchefstroom and spoke about the platform that the tournament creates for players.
Ntini played cricket for South Africa between 1998 and 2011 and boasts a ton of experience, having played for Border, as well as Chennai Super Kings and Kent. Although Ntini has international experience, he said he would have loved the opportunity to play Varsity Cricket if it had existed when he was still playing.
“I would have taken the opportunity because in those varsities you would have the likes of Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Lance Klusener and Sean Pollock in every varsity. It would have been a massive challenge for each and every one of us because we were probably all looking to break through to the national team.”
Ntini said that Varsity Cricket gives people a good idea of what still needs to be done in cricket, as well as creating a platform for every cricket player to showcase their talent.
“The likes of Lungi Ngidi came through Varsity Cricket. If you are a youngster and this is your first time playing for your varsity, with heroes like Rassie van der Dussen, you are now also in a position to put your name out there. You get to play provincial cricket on a higher level while living the varsity life.”
Ntini also praised NWU batsman Louren Steenkamp, who he believes has shown that he has got the necessary talent and skills. “He can hit the ball as far as AB de Villiers and Lance Klusener. There is a lot of talent here.”
Ntini’s only worry is what he calls a
‘wonder worry’. He wonders how many coaches are at Varsity Cricket scouting the
talent to select them to play for their provinces.
“Next year there will be twelve provincial teams, so Varsity Cricket is creating the opportunities for players to play in that format. It can easily be utilised for the benefit of other provinces.”
By Bronwen Bain