Ntini: India pace attack very effective, good overseas

South Africa bowling great Makhaya Ntini feels Indian pacers are hitting all the right areas.

Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami

India pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami during the 2018 Australia series.   -  Getty Images

For someone who is among the South African greats, Makhaya Ntini is strikingly unassuming.

He bares his heart when he talks. In an exclusive chat with Sportstar, the 44-year-old Ntini said, “Malcolm Marshall was my hero, man. I tried to do everything the way he did. I modelled my bowling action after him. He was the greatest of them all.”

Ntini played a huge part in South Africa becoming a strong Test team. In 101 matches, he had 390 Test wickets at 28.82 (strike rate 53.4).

Add to this his 266 ODI scalps at an economy rate of 4.53, and you are looking at a formidable paceman. Ntini was quick, skilful and often deadly.    

And, Ntini was the first black cricketer of significance to play for South Africa. He came from a humble background; his mother was a cleaning lady.

Ntini is delighted at Kagiso Rabada featuring in his 50th Test in Cape Town. “Things are happening so quickly for him, man. He is strong, fit, bowls fast, is skilful. He moves it both ways, has a very good short ball. He is hostile.”

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So impressed was Ntini with Rabada, he said, “I expect him to break all South African records. He already has more than 200 wickets. I think he will play way more than 100 Tests and finish with over 500 Test wickets that no South African bowler has accomplished. When he gets there, I will celebrate."

Queried about the new kid on the block, Marco Jansen, Ntini replied, “I don’t want to praise him too much. These are early days in his career. He’s a left-armer, has got the ability.”

Ntini elaborated, “But in Test cricket if you bowl 20 overs in a day, you got to bowl with the same intensity the next day. You got to be as quick in your last spell as in your first.”

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About the Indian pace attack, Ntini said, “It is very effective, that’s why you are so good overseas now. They are hitting the right areas. Bumrah’s approach and action are different from anybody else. It makes a huge difference.

“Shami’s seam position is excellent. And who would have thought Shardul could be so aggressive and thrustful as he was in the second Test. It is unfortunate Siraj got injured. He’s good.”

Speaking about Dean Elgar, Ntini said, “As a leader you have to stand out from the rest. Elgar has shown he can, even under extreme pressure, and, lead his team to victory.”

Ntini, now, wants to focus on coaching. “I would love to come to India,” he said. 

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