Judge my son Thando on his cricket abilities and not on his last name‚ says Makhaya Ntini
Former Proteas fast bowler Makhaya Ntini has appealed to the nation's cricket lovers to judge his son Thando on his cricket abilities and not on his last name.
Children of celebrated sporting personalities often struggle under the weight of expectation and the legendary Makhaya said his son should not be put under unnecessary pressure.
The younger Ntini will continue his professional career with the Titans in Centurion next season‚ after joining the side from Cape Town franchise the Cobras‚ and will be in the spotlight as he follows in the footsteps of his famous father who played more than 100 Test matches for South Africa.
“There is no way he will change his surname‚ so don’t look at him and say he is Makhaya’s son. No‚ he is Thando‚” said Makhaya.
“I feel very strongly about this‚ I want everyone not to see me when they look at my son.
"See him as an individual on his own‚ look at his progress as a player and not me. If he is good enough he will play in the team‚ my time has passed and I made my contribution.
“He is still very young and he needs to learn without any pressure‚ so let’s allow him the space to develop as a cricketer like any other youngster out there.
"People must not compare him to me because my time has passed‚ this is his time.
"Let him enjoy himself while at the same time learning this game.”
Reflecting on Thando’s move from Cape Town to Pretoria‚ Makhaya said the Titans gave the younger Ntini a good offer and he will be working with experienced coaches in Mandla Mashimbyi and Geoffrey Toyana.
“He is going in the right direction because Mandla and Geoff are there.
"He will be tested because he is getting out of his comfort zone. When he signed it hit me at the bottom of my gut because I know that the legacy of the family will continue and this is a good opportunity for him.
"He is a left-hander and an all-rounder‚ and he showed his ability from the schooling days.
"I believe that Mandla and Geoff will help him to work more on his batting and not only focus on his bowling‚ which is his main strength.”
Titans coach Mashimbyi said he was looking forward to working with the highly promising Thando.
“He is fortunate to have a father like Makhaya but we must allow him to be himself.
"Having said that‚ everything is going to depend on him and how he handles himself.
"I have spoken to him and his father and he is excited to be joining us‚ and we must give him time to develop.
"We will work with him and we are going to try and turn him into an all-rounder for the Titans‚ but he must work hard for his place.
"Everybody in the team is an option and there is no guarantee that he is going to play right away‚” said Mashimbyi.