Hero Worship Hero WorshipRSS FeedFeeds
Cricketers on their idols

Makhaya Ntini on Brian McMillan

The incredible hulk

A mentor who you could model your game - and life - on

Firdose Moonda

November 20, 2009

Text size: A | A

India v South Africa , 3rd Test match, Kanpur, 8 - 12 December 1996
The man who always wanted to be on the winning side Carl Fourie / © Action Photographics
Enlarge
Related Links
Players/Officials: Brian McMillan | Makhaya Ntini
Teams: South Africa

I remember wondering how such a heavy-set man could have the power and destruction of an elephant and the accuracy of an eagle swooping down on its prey all at the same time.

I was only a schoolboy when I watched this hulk bowling for the first time. I remember how he banged every delivery in, each ball coming in harder than the previous one, and how he was always attacking the batsmen, not letting them settle down or relax at the crease. The more I watched him, his action, his technique and his skill, the more I realised I wanted to be like Brian McMillan.

When I was still playing cricket at school and was on the fringes of the Border set-up, I used to watch Brian whenever Western Province came to play in East London. At first I just used to sit and watch him, but as I became more involved in the set-up I was able to interact with him when we played against each other.

Even though I modelled my action on Malcolm Marshall, I modelled my approach to the game and to many different aspects of life on Brian.

I used to notice how he never showed signs of being tired and how seriously he took his fitness, even though he was such a big-built man. He had a jovial manner; he was always smiling, but at the same time he made sure his team-mates and the opposition knew that he wanted to be part of the winning side. Those were character traits that I wanted to adopt, and I think I have over the years.

After making my debut against Sri Lanka, I was selected for the tour to England in 1998. I was one of the youngest members of the team, and I had to choose a mentor for the tour. I immediately selected Brian. That meant we had to train together and work on different strategies and techniques, and it was during that time that I learnt a lot from him, about things both on and off the field.

I still speak to Brian for advice regularly. The most important lessons I have learnt from him are the things outside of cricket. We both believe in training hard for ourselves but also in playing a positive role in the team. We also have a good cricket-life balance, which is essential when you are professional sportsman.

As told to Firdose Moonda, a freelance writer based in Johannesburg

RSS Feeds: Firdose Moonda

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Firdose MoondaClose

    Worst keepers, and honours at Lord's

Ask Steven: Also, most keeping dismissals on debut, seven-for at HQ, and youngest ODI centurions

    From swinging London to Maco country

Diary: Our correspondent walks and buses the streets of the English capital, and then heads for the coast

    When Pidge strayed

My Favourite Cricket Story: Brett Lee remembers how Australia nearly lost the Old Trafford Test in the 2005 Ashes

    How we misunderstand risk in sport

Ed Smith: Success, failure, innovation - they are all about our willingness to take risks and how we judge them

'Fast-bowling injuries account for two-thirds of games missed'

The Cricket Couch: Australian physio Alex Kountouris talks about player health management

News | Features Last 7 days

Vijay rediscovers the old Monk

The leave outside off stump has been critical to M Vijay's success since his India comeback last year. Contrary to popular opinion, such patience and self-denial comes naturally to him

Ridiculed Ishant ridicules England

Ishant Sharma has often been the butt of jokes, and sometimes deservedly so. Today, however, the joke was on England

England seem to have forgotten about personality

They have to see a glass that is half-full, and play the game as if it is just that, a game; and an opportunity

Bhuvneshwar on course for super series

Only 15 times in Test history has a player achieved the double of 300 runs and 20 wickets in a Test series. Going on current form, Bhuvneshwar could well be the 16th

Ishant's fourth-innings heroics in rare company

In India's win at Lord's, Ishant Sharma took the best bowling figures by an Indian in the fourth innings of a Test outside Asia. Here are five other best bowling efforts by Indians in the fourth innings of Tests outside Asia

News | Features Last 7 days
Sponsored Links

Why not you? Read and learn how!