DURBAN – Up and coming fast bowler Lifa Ntanzi has been included in the Dolphins squad for next season.
The “Umlazi Express” is one of the major success stories of grassroots cricket, and has become the first player who played for the Umlazi Cricket Club to have received a franchise contract.
The 18-year-old is also a product of the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union (KZNCU) development programme. His love for the game started when he was in grade 7 at Ndongeni Primary School, and his immense talent led to him being included in the KZN Under-13 B team in 2013 as well as receiving a scholarship to attend Glenwood High School.
Ntanzi is aware that he can be an inspiration for others from the sprawling township of Umlazi.
“I think that it’s important for me – to be able to be an example for the young boys and girls in Umlazi and I hope that I can encourage as many young children to play cricket and follow their dreams,” Ntanzi said.
Ntanzi is highly rated within the South African cricket fraternity and along with Thando Ntini (son of former Proteas fast bowler Makhaya), is considered to be one of the most naturally-gifted young pace bowlers.
Unfortunately, Ntanzi who has been capped by the SA U19 team, missed the U19 World Cup this year due to injury. He is nevertheless hoping to play on the highest stage of the game and emulate the legendary Dale Steyn.
Ntanzi made his debut for the Dolphins this past season against the Highveld Lions in a One-Day Cup game, and managed to take his first wicket at franchise level when he dismissed Ryan Rickelton.
Watch a younger Lifa Ntanzi in action below:
Dolphins coach Imraan Khan was impressed with Ntanzi’s display on his debut.
“He showed glimpses of his capabilities on debut. He is working closely with the strength-and-conditioning trainer to get fit and strong through this winter,” said Khan.
Khan also believes that Ntanzi, barring any mishaps, could be a break-out star next season.
“Lifa has tremendous potential. He has raw pace which is a rarity. Huge credit must go to the coaches from the KZNCU development programme which identified him and nurtured his talent from a young age. We are excited to watch him grow and develop his game,” added Khan.
By Eshlin Vedan