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Full name Justin Lee Ontong
Born January 4, 1980, Paarl, Cape Province
Current age 35 years 83 days
Major teams South Africa, Africa XI, Boland, Cape Cobras, Lions, South Africa A
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
|Test debut||Australia v South Africa at Sydney, Jan 2-5, 2002 scorecard|
|Last Test||India v South Africa at Kolkata, Nov 28-Dec 2, 2004 scorecard|
|ODI debut||West Indies v South Africa at Kingston, Apr 28, 2001 scorecard|
|Last ODI||England v South Africa at Nottingham, Sep 5, 2012 scorecard|
|T20I debut||South Africa v West Indies at Johannesburg, Jan 18, 2008 scorecard|
|Last T20I||South Africa v West Indies at Durban, Jan 14, 2015 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Titans v Cape Cobras at Benoni, Mar 19-22, 2015 scorecard|
|List A debut||1998/99|
|Last List A||Cape Cobras v Titans at Cape Town, Feb 13, 2015 scorecard|
|Twenty20 debut||Titans v Lions at Centurion, Apr 8, 2004 scorecard|
|Last Twenty20||South Africa v West Indies at Durban, Jan 14, 2015 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|29, 0/11||Cape Cobras||v Titans||Benoni||19 Mar 2015||FC|
|82, 0/16||Cape Cobras||v Warriors||Cape Town||12 Mar 2015||FC|
|22, 43||Cape Cobras||v Titans||Paarl||26 Feb 2015||FC|
|7, 0/9||Cape Cobras||v Titans||Cape Town||13 Feb 2015||LA|
|0/12, 0||Cape Cobras||v Dolphins||Cape Town||6 Feb 2015||LA|
|22||Sth Africa A||v Eng Lions||Pretoria||2 Feb 2015||LA|
|-||Sth Africa A||v Eng Lions||Potchefstroom||31 Jan 2015||LA|
|14||Sth Africa A||v Eng Lions||Kimberley||28 Jan 2015||LA|
|13||Sth Africa A||v Eng Lions||Bloemfontein||25 Jan 2015||LA|
|54, 0/8||Sth Africa A||v Eng Lions||Bloemfontein||18 Jan 2015||FC|
Justin Ontong started off as a batsman, but then also added offbreaks, quicker balls and wrong'uns to make himself a more useful cricketer. Adept in any position in the batting order, Ontong is a fighting cricketer who can play pace and spin, a committed fielder and a handy spin bowler.
Four years after making his first-class debut, Ontong got an opportunity to make his Test debut, in Sydney in January 2002, but the occasion was mired in controversy. Ontong was selected ahead of Jacques Rudolph for political reasons. It emerged that Percy Sonn, then the South Africa board president, had overruled the selectors and insisted on the inclusion of Ontong, a Cape Coloured, ahead of Rudolph, a white player. Rudolph and Ontong were room-mates at the time and have remained friends despite the circumstances of the tour.
Scores of nine and 32 were all that Ontong managed in that match and it would be nearly three years before he earned another opportunity in Tests. He eventually returned to the squad for the trip to India in November 2004. However, the return was short-lived as he again failed to establish himself in a strong batting order and he had to wait until early 2008 for another recall when he was named to face West Indies. A strong 2008 domestic season, during which he was the Cobras' leading run-scorer, saw Ontong included for the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 in India in 2009 but he did not play a single game.
Ontong returned to the domestic circuit and the fruits of maturity showed. In two first-class seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12, he averaged over 50 in first-class cricket and in the latter season, over 70 in List A. He became a regular fixture in the South Africa A side and made a fourth return to national colours under the Gary Kirsten administration in January 2012.
Ontong was selected for the limited-overs legs of the tour of New Zealand and featured regularly in the twenty-over side since then. He played in the unofficial tri-series in Zimbabwe, where Bangladesh were also participants, and was used in various positions to firm up an experimental middle order. With South Africa's ODI side also searching for the perfect combination, Ontong was one of the players they decided to use in the series against England. He was named in South Africa's squad to play in the World T20 in Sri Lanka in September 2012.
For 30 minutes, everything else took a backseat, as the world watched in awe and fear, a fired-up Pakistan fast bowler mercilessly bullying an Australian batsman
Over the last few months, he has slowly moved from a flashy finisher, to a more measured risk manager
India's Plan A in this World Cup had worked flawlessly over seven matches. When they came up against the toughest opponents in the World Cup, however, they were left scrambling for a back-up plan
It was Grant Elliott and New Zealand's time in Auckland. Not South Africa's. But the Proteas will leave this tournament wondering when that will ever change. Maybe next time.