4 October 2006
Makhaya Ntini has achieved another milestone, being named one of the Mutual & Federal SA Cricket Annual’s five Cricketers of the Year for a record fifth time.
Ntini was nominated along with his Proteas’ new ball partner Dale Steyn, batsmen Hashim Amla and Ashwell Prince, and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher at a function at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
During the past year, Ntini has been the spearhead of South Africa’s bowling attack. His most notable achievement came when he captured 10-wicket hauls in consecutive tests, against Australia and New Zealand. It was the first time the feat had been managed by a South African.
Steyn, with his extra pace, proved himself an ideal complement to Ntini, especially in the three-test series against New Zealand in late 2005, during which he captured 16 wickets.
Hashim Amla made a smooth transition from outstanding domestic performer to solid test player, scoring an excellent 149 against New Zealand in the drawn second test in Cape Town, after the Black Caps had tallied a huge 593 for 8, thanks to Stephen Fleming’s 262.
First black captain
Ashwell Prince became South Africa’s eighth Test captain since unification, and also the first black captain of the Proteas. Initially a player on the fringe of selection, his increased maturity at the crease saw him finish second in the SA batting averages against New Zealand, and fourth in Sri Lanka.
Mark Boucher, who made his test debut back in 1997 and is fast closing in on 100 test appearances, enjoyed a fantastic season, becoming the second leading wicketkeeper in test history when he was involved in his 356th dismissal against New Zealand. Only Ian Healy has seen off more batsmen, but Boucher is fast closing in on his record.
The Border star already holds the records for the fastest wicketkeeper to 100, 150, and 200 one-day international catches.
Recently, he smashed a sensational 147 not against Zimbabwe off only 68 balls – in the process scoring the fasting international one-day 100 by a South African, and the second-fastest ever.
The Editor of the Mutual and Federal SA Cricket Annual, Colin Bryden, said narrowing the candidates down to five was particularly difficult because a host of players had impressive performances during the year covered by the Mutual & Federal Annual, which grew by a substantial 80 pages, reflective of the amount of cricket played under Cricket South Africa.
The annual is recognized as one of the most authoritative books of its kind, providing a full record of all major cricket played in South Africa. The fifty-third edition of the publication has 688 pages of feature articles, colour pictures, match reports and statistics.