‘Makhaya Ntini Doesn’t Speak About it’: Son Thando Claims Fast Bowling Legend Was Constantly Fighting for His Life in South African Team

Last Updated: February 05, 2024, 10:34 IST

Makhaya Ntini is widely regarded as one of the finest fast bowlers to have played the game. (AFP Photo)

Makhaya Ntini is widely regarded as one of the finest fast bowlers to have played the game. (AFP Photo)

Thando Ntini says his father has avoided speaking about the issue publicly to avoid a negative impact on his career.

Fast bowling legend Makhaya Ntini was always in a ‘survival mode’ while ‘fighting for his life’ during his South Africa career, his son Thando has claimed.

Ntini was the first black cricketer to represent South Africa in Tests and retired with 662 wickets across formats.

Speaking on the Load Shed Podcast, Thando says his father felt lonely during tours as other South African stars made dinner plans with Ntini being constantly snubbed.

“A couple of years back he (Makhaya) actually spoke out he just felt like he was constantly fighting for his life. The only guy there you know I understand he probably felt lonely. It sucks to hear him when he can count with his hands how many times he was invited to a dinner with the gents,” Thando said.

“You know when you go on tour and when you arrive you make plans about ‘okay guys we’re going to go to a certain place for dinner’, you are keen (but) he never had someone knock at his door and be like ‘You keen to join us for dinner?’ So it just felt like for him it was always survival mode and just trying to create a future for himself and his family,” he added.

Thando, a right-arm pacer, says Ntini doesn’t like to talk about the treatment he was meted out during his time with the national team to ensure his son’s career doesn’t get impacted negatively.

“Post cricket, he doesn’t speak about it. He doesn’t want to create a hostile environment for me in the industry because of the stuff that he says. At the end of the day most of the coaches in our system have either played with him or the ex-players or whatever,” Thando said.

“When he speaks to me he’s just like ‘I keep quiet to protect you so that you can have a long lasting career and I want you to have a smooth career and you make your own mistakes,” he added.

During the Black Lives Matter movement, South Africa fast bowler Lungi Ngidi spoke about how the team has to make a stand on the issue.

After his comments divided opinions in the country, Ntini backed Ngidi recalling his own time with the national team when he felt lonely with his teammates not inviting him for dinner or avoiding sitting next to him during breakfast.

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