India in SA

Ntini bows out with few regrets

2011-01-08 20:15
Makhaya Ntini (Gallo Images)

Durban - South Africa cricket icon Makhaya Ntini will depart the international stage Sunday with few regrets after a Twenty20 showdown against India.

"I wanted to overtake Shaun (Pollock) as the highest Test wicket taker in the national team and representing my country 100 times was not the memorable occasion it could have been," he admitted here.

Ntini, the first black African to represent South Africa at cricket, had to settle for second place on the wickets roll of honour, capturing 390 in 101 Tests at an average of 28.82 before being axed from the team just over a year ago.

And bowling the final over against England, he could not snatch the wicket that would have brought his team victory and made his 100th Test appearance a memorable occasion.

But the former herd boy from the Eastern Cape is thrilled to be saying a belated goodbye before a 50,000 crowd including President Jacob Zuma at 2010 FIFA World Cup venue Moses Mabhida Stadium.

"It will be emotional saying goodbye to something you love. It will be one of those days that you will never forget," said the 32-year-old, who hopes to build an academy in Indian Ocean town East London.

"This is my last game for my country, my last chance at international level to show what I am capable of. A full stadium, worldwide television coverage. It will be a great moment."

Another great moment was his debut for South Africa 12 years ago against Sri Lanka at Newlands in the shadow of Table Mountain, and he signalled his arrival on the world scene with a couple of wickets.

"That Test stands out for me, whatever I might have achieved since. My aim was to wear the green and gold cap. I believe the first Test appearance is a special moment for every cricketer."

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