11 Jan 2011

Curtain comes down on Ntini

12:45 pm on 11 January 2011

The international career of South African cricketer Makhaya Ntini's come to an end on an occasion which was at least as much about emotion and show business as it was about cricket.

It was an official Twenty20 international, which India won by 21 runs - but Ntini's farewell, the setting in a World Cup football stadium, a Bollywood concert and a string of ceremonial presentations vied with the cricket for top billing.

South African president Jacob Zuma was on hand as Ntini, who's 33 and a former herdboy, was thanked for the 12-year contribution he made to the game as the first black African cricketer to represent South Africa.

Ntini spoke of his pride at having gone from 'a man behind the cow dung' to a career in which he played in 101 Test matches and 172 one-day internationals.

He urged Lonwabo Tsotsobe, the only black current member of the Test side, to "fill these shoes for us as black people everywhere in the country and in the world."