Ntini announces retirement from international cricket

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

JOHANNESBURG - South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini Tuesday announced his retirement from international cricket.

The 33-year-old Ntini, the first black cricketer to play for South Africa, however, confirmed plans to continue playing domestic cricket for the Warriors.

“It’s been a happy journey, but all things come to an end,” Ntini told the media.

“That is what I am planning to do with my academy - see that they don’t disappear after six months,” he said.

An emotional Ntini fought back tears as he revealed he had never dreamt of achieving the distinction of playing in 100 Test matches. Ntini celebrated his 100th Test cap in the first Test against England at Centurion last December.

“Being the first black player to represent South Africa, I had to work very hard,” he said.

“But, the captains I played under - the late Hansie Cronje, Shaun Pollock and Graeme Smith - supported me 150 percent. They made me realise it was not about colour, but about what I could do,” he said.

Ntini said his cricketing career is not over and he would be in action at the domestic level.

“My career is by no means over. It just means that internationally my time has come to hang up my boots. Domestic cricket is thriving at the moment, and I want to be a part of the set-up, as a player, for as long as possible.”

He expressed interest in developing talented players from the rural areas through his academy.

“That is what I am planning to do with my academy - see that they don’t disappear after six months,” he said.

“It is my dream to give back. The Makhaya Ntini Cricket Academy in Mdantsane is gathering momentum, and I am keen to put more energy into the project, and let it be a vehicle for change.

“I am currently in discussions with CSA (Cricket South Africa) about getting involved with their ‘Tomorrow’ campaign, and give back to its cricket development programmes, which are the same structures I came through.”

Ntini thanked Cricket South Africa (CSA) for its support when he was convicted of rape in 2000. He was later acquitted on appeal.

“That was the hardest time of my life, but people like the late Khaya Majola and Dr Ali Bacher supported me and believed in me,” he said.

CSA chief executive Gerald Majola paid tribute to Ntini, and said he would make a last appearance in the Standard Bank Pro20 match against India at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban Jan 9.

“We can’t let a great player like Makhaya say goodbye off the field,” he said.

“So, we have told the selectors to include him in that match and give his fans an opportunity to bid him farewell.”

CSA President Mtuthuzeli Nyoka praised Ntini for succeeding against “unspeakable odds” and described him as a man of destiny.

Ntini finished with 390 Test wickets - the 11th highest of all time, and second highest by a South African.

He holds the South African records for the best bowling figures in Test cricket, a match return of 13 for 132 against the West Indies at Trinidad in 2005. In the one-day internationals his best was six wickets for 23 runs against Australia at Sahara Park Newlands in 2006.

He is also the only South African bowler to take 10 wickets in a Test match at Lord’s.

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