Kitime swimming in a pool of inspirational Proteas

VALENTINE Kitime in action for Western Province where he is swimming in a pool of inspiration. | BackpagePix

VALENTINE Kitime in action for Western Province where he is swimming in a pool of inspiration. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 10, 2024


FOR a youngster such as Valentine Kitime, a 20-year-old batter from Potchefstroom, it is important to be surrounded by elite players. At Western Province, Kitime is shielded by some of the world’s most exciting talents including Tony de Zorzi, Kyle Verreynne and Nandre Burger.

De Zorzi, Verreynne and Burger, all Proteas players, serve as a template for what it means to be an international cricketer.

To his own advantage, Kitime is a sponge that soaks in all the experience and knowledge that his teammates have to offer for his growing game. With only a season and a half playing Division One cricket, having all this experience around will only do Kitime’s game a world of good.

“It’s sometimes overwhelming but sometimes also motivating as well. Like, you see all these players around you and it just motivates you to do better and want more for yourself. I chat to Tony (De Zorzi) and Kyle (Verreynne) about batting quite a lot,” Kitime told Independent Newspapers in an exclusive interview.

“So, I just try to feed off the older, more experienced guys as I’m so young and still trying to figure out my game. I try to tap into different guys’ spaces to see how they go about their business because they play at the highest level which is what I aspire to do as well.

“Naturally, I’m a massive over thinker but Kyle (Verreynne) always speaks about keeping things simple and doing the basics for long periods – focusing on watching the ball and being present ball-by-ball.”

As much as it is important for Kitime to have international players around him, it is just as important, if not more, to have a coach who believes in giving youngsters opportunities to play.

Around the country, Province coach Salieg Nackerdien is well known for consistently playing youngsters in his teams and entrusting them with massive responsibilities.

On numerous occasions, Nackerdien batted Kitime at numbers four and five in the Western Province batting order this season, showing faith in the youngster’s potential.

Jono Bird, Daniel Smith, Abdullah Bayoumy, Juan James, Liyema Waqu and Mihlali Mpongwana are all in their early 20s and have been getting playing opportunities under Nackerdien at Western Province.

Kitime says the backing shown by Nackerdien and his teammates boosts their confidence as youngsters in the Province set-up.

“Having the coach’s backing, the captain’s backing and the team’s backing is a massive confidence boost knowing that everyone is behind you,” he added.

Province return to Newlands to play their first CSA T20 Challenge match of the season at home in front of their fans today following Friday night’s victory against the Dolphins at Kingsmead Stadium.

In Paarl, the Rocks team will look to bounce back from their defeat to the Lions as they host the Titans, a team that is fresh from a victory having defeated the North West Dragons on Friday night.

To complete the second round of fixtures, the Dragons host the Lions at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom.

All matches start at 2pm.