SA v IND II Unique Bumrah ‘By Far the Best’: Makhaya Ntini

Makhaya Ntini
Makhaya Ntini (Source: Proteas Men /X)

On the opening day of the Boxing Day Test between India and South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion, Kagiso Rabada’s five-for hogged the limelight, but Makhaya Ntini, South Africa’s pace icon, insisted that Jasprit Bumrah, India’s pace spearhead, was “by far the best” bowler globally.

In an interview with RevSportz, Ntini dissected Bumrah’s exceptional skills, emphasising his unique bowling technique. “Oh, by far!” he said when asked of Bumrah’s place in the pace-bowling pecking order. “If you are talking about Bumrah, India is not the same team without Bumrah.” Ntini highlighted Bumrah’s release point, explaining, “Look where Bumrah releases the ball. He releases it from the top of his head. So, he gets the angle to bring the ball back in. He can get deliveries to straighten after pitching. I don’t know if he has powerful wrists but the action is always the same, that’s how beautiful it is. His yorkers, he doesn’t miss any, those are the things everyone gets to enjoy. He is the pillar of strength for India.”

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While India aim to make history by winning their first-ever Test series on South African soil, Ntini shed light on the challenges they face on the Proteas’ home turf. “I think the South African soil is completely different,” he said. “Australia is very similar, I would say. But to get used to the South African soil and conditions, which lengths and lines you should be bowling, you will have to play a lot more of practice games, warm-up matches, to get used to which lengths you should be bowling.”

As Rabada showcased his prowess on the Centurion track, Ntini praised the Proteas thoroughbred but expressed concerns about South Africa’s limited Test schedule. “He is already up there (among the greats),” said Ntini. “When you talk about those guys, when you talk about those bowlers, they have passed the 400-mark and KG (Rabada) is chasing the 300-mark. But we have got a massive problem. You are playing two Test matches a year, and what is that? Do you think this guy (Rabada) can hold up till he gets to that milestone?”

Addressing the shrinking Test calendar – South Africa will play just three Tests in 2024, one against India and two versus New Zealand – Ntini raised questions about the dominance of the shorter formats. “We were taught that Test matches give you recognition throughout the world,” he said. “If I want to bowl 10 overs and go for seven runs [an over], they will call you expensive. But in a Test match, you will have more time to come back. Your fitness is tested. In ODIs, you bowl six overs and it’s okay. In T20s, you bowl 2 overs, it can be okay. Where will you be recognised?”

Also Read: KL Rahul masterclass keeps India in the hunt at Centurion

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