Exclusive interview with Proteas spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba
Independent Media’s Zaahier Adams caught up with impressive young spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba in exclusive interview ahead of the series.
Zaahier Adams: I remember you being very nervous on the last tour to India in 2019. How do you feel now coming back here for the second time with the experience of having played in a T20 World Cup already?
Nonkululeko Mlaba: Yes, I was very nervous. It was the first time I was playing for my country. It was also my first time away from home. They had good players and there were big crowds. I was so nervous. I am fine this time around because I’ve been to a World Cup and played against the best players. I very excited and can’t wait to get out on the field.
Zaahier Adams: Can you tell us about what you learnt over this period, and the adjustments you need to make between bowling in South Africa and here in India?
Nonkululeko Mlaba: I’ve been working on telling myself just to enjoy myself and forget about everything. In terms of bowling to the Indian players, they know how to play spin. In the previous series against Pakistan in Durban, I learnt to be more consistent and not play the player, just do what I know. I am going to do the same against India and focus on what I can control.
Zaahier Adams: Will you look to speak to any of the Indian players or even coaches to try and help you improve as you are still only 20 years old?
Nonkululeko Mlaba: I love to speak to anyone who can speak cricket and advise me about good things to learn. I can talk to anyone, including the Indian players and coaches as long as they can improve my skill.
Zaahier Adams: How much analysis do you do with the video analysts ahead of the game, particularly on the Indian batters who are renowned for playing spin well?
Nonkululeko Mlaba: I do analyze the players, but I don’t do it too much because I don’t want to put myself under pressure because the more I do that, the more I want to play the player. I know that it helps, but sometimes too much information is not good.
Zaahier Adams: We know that you love dancing. Are you planning a special celebration when you take a wicket in India?
Nonkululeko Mlaba: I do love dancing and definitely dance a lot in my free time. But when it comes to celebrating, I don’t know what is happening (laughs). I just celebrate… yeah … but not too big. Sometimes I am shy, actually I am shy infront of people. But when I am alone I can do whatever I want.