Lifa Ntanzi is looking to make it big on the cricketing front. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
South African cricket has a long history of churning out quality fast bowlers and it seems that the trend will continue as more youngsters surface in the national junior teams.

Lifa Ntanzi from KwaZulu-Natal, who was the only player from the province to be part of the South African Under-19 squad hosting Pakistan in Youth One Day International and T20 games, is one such example.

Even though the current series against Pakistan is proving to be a nightmare for the Proteas, Ntanzi has been one of the better performers by taking wickets on a regular basis.

The 17-year-old certainly appears to be on track to be part of the Proteas U-19 squad which will host the U-19 World Cup next year.

The Umlazi born fast bowler, who idolises Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada, was also part of the SA U-19 squad that travelled to India last year and played against age-group counterparts Afghanistan, India and India A.

Even though the South African side struggled for consistency during that tour, Ntanzi was particularly impressive during the second match against the Indians at Thirivananthapuram as he picked up four for 90 in the first innings.

“Being exposed to Indian conditions is probably the best experience for every cricketer in the world today,” he said about the tour.

“You learn a lot about yourself and what you are capable of doing there.

“The conditions are different from what we get in South Africa and this tests you a lot as a pace bowler.”

Ntanzi’s love for cricket started when he took interest in the sport while he was in Grade 7 at Ndongeni Primary School in Umlazi. Due to his advanced skills, he won selection to the KZN U/13B side in 2013 and then received a scholarship to attend Glenwood High School.

The teenager’s goal is to one day play for the senior Proteas side. And if he continues with his form, there is a good chance he will graduate to the senior provincial cricket team in the near future.

For now he is aiming to “just keep learning about the game and playing against the best players and getting tools from them” in order to eventually play for the Proteas.

It is players such as Ntanzi and Lutho Sipamla that underpin the notion that the country will continue to be spoilt for choice when it comes to identifying long-term successors to the likes of Steyn, Rabada and others in the current senior side.

Sunday Tribune