SA in New Zealand
Levi keeps feet on ground
Cape Town - The Proteas’ new-kid on the block, Richard Levi, is focused and prepared ahead of the crunch series-decider against New Zealand at Eden Park on Wednesday.
It has been two days since Levi’s record-breaking innings of 117 runs off 52 balls including 13 sixes, and captain AB de Villiers believes the teams will be starting from scratch in preparation for the series triumph.
“I don’t want him to calm down, I want him to stay exactly the way he is,” joked De Villiers, when asked whether Levi had recovered from Sunday.
“He played an amazing knock, he is a humble guy, he is down to earth and I’m pretty sure that he will find his feet tomorrow and start from zero again. It's 1-1, everything is starting over and hopefully we have a good game again on Wednesday.”
Everything may be starting all over for the Proteas, but for Levi this series has sparked the start of a budding international career. There has been speculation about an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract, as well as a berth in the ODI squad, but for the former Wynberg Boys High School scholar, the mission remains the same.
“It hasn’t really sunk in for me,” commented Levi, who also looks up to the burly Australian batsman, Matthew Hayden. “I woke up after Sunday, went for a run, had breakfast and everything was normal so I’m still coming to terms with what has happened. The focus for me right now is to help the team to win the series and I hope that we can do that tomorrow.”
Levi attended a traditional cricketing school in Wynberg Boys High, the Alma Mater of Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis
, and received the best cricket coaching at his disposal while growing up in Hout Bay.
He represented Western Province from Under-13 up until Under-19 level at the various Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Schools Weeks, and he further went to participate in the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2006 and was also selected to attend the CSA National Academy in 2008. The coaches throughout his career have been many, but only a few stand out.
“I have had a lot of coaching mentors throughout my career, Chris Ridley was my first official coach and he was instrumental in putting me in touch with Wynberg Boys High when I was in Standard five (Grade seven), he taught me about the etiquette and techniques of the game.
“Paul Revington, the current Ireland Hockey coach, Eric Levinson the Wynberg Boys High first team coach and Alison Johnson my Western Province coach from Under-13 to Under-19 also all had noticeable influences on my career.
“After school, Shukri Conrad and Richard Pybus played the supportive and guiding roles in my career especially when it came to getting to grips with the franchise game. Shukri was the first coach to put his neck on the line for me, he gave me my first taste of domestic cricket and gave me a chance when I was an unknown 16 year-old.
“Pybie has helped me more with moving my game forward, both mentally and technically and has given me the freedom to express myself and to play the type of game that I want to play.”
A lot of hard work has gone in to moulding the 24 year-old batsman. His success has not come from a record-breaking innings, but more from the willingness to learn and the hard work and determination to succeed.
The world sampled a taste of what Richard Ernst Levi can deliver and judging from his mindset, it is a spectacle that will hopefully be seen for many years to come.