South Africa news November 3, 2010

Ntini was a 'great servant' - McMillan


Brian McMillan, the former South Africa allrounder, has hailed his ex team-mate Makhaya Ntini as a "great servant to the game" after the fast bowler announced his international retirement. McMillan was Ntini's mentor during the 1998 tour to England when Ntini was playing in just his third series, and the two formed a strong bond.

For McMillan it was Ntini's fitness levels that stood out, a trait the fast bowler said he modelled on McMillan. Ntini became well known as the work horse of the South African attack, which he credited the allrounder for teaching him. "He had a lot of dedication which not all the guys have now," McMillan told ESPNcricinfo. "Whenever you would throw him the ball, he would bowl. In some ways he was a lot like Shaun Pollock, in that he got through a lot of overs."

The connection between the two started from an early stage. "He was still very much a junior and one of the first development players in our side," McMillan said. "He used to babysit my son Joshua on the sidelines, and Joshua is 17 now. It is things like that which make Makhaya not just special to me but also to my family."

However, there is still one bone of contention as far as McMillan is concerned. "There's one thing I will have to talk to him about. He promised me he would invite me to his wedding and he didn't," he joked.

McMillan believed that Ntini had made his own decision about quitting the international game and that it was not for him or anyone else to judge whether he had retired at the right time. "He must've known it was time."

Meanwhile, the current Test and one-day captain, Graeme Smith, gave his own tribute to Ntini after the third one-day international against Pakistan in Dubai which Smith missed due to injury. "Makhaya epitomised what the Proteas stood for and has been a great servant to the game both on and off the field," said Smith. "I am most grateful to have been part of his career and successes and wish him all of the best with his life after international cricket."

"He brought so much energy and laughter to the team, not forgetting that he is one of the fittest players I know, and as a captain it was always a pleasure to be able to call on him. I am so proud of his achievements, his records speak for themselves, and he leaves behind a lasting legacy for many to aspire to.

"He has been a pioneer for youngsters out there and has represented every South African while he has donned the Protea jersey."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on November 5, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    Poor choice of words - anyways the fact is, he was a great whole hearted cricketer. He always seemed like a wicket was just around the corner, amazing really given how wide of the stumps his delivery stride was. To be honest I thought he retired a year ago.

  • robin on November 4, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    @ Erica and anyone else that might make more comments about the word 'servant'. This word has been used in countless stories to describe the dedication, loyalty and effort which a person puts into their work. It is certainly not a negative saying and in my opinion is a great description of any person who has given their all for their country, like Makhaya has. Makhaya is not a Black South African, he is a South African and a representative for each and every one of us. The distinction is no longer made between colour in this country, despite what the rest of the World might believe. I am a young 'white' South African and am truly proud of Makhaya and what he has achieved...He is a Hero for me and for my country...A great player, a great person and a legend of the game !!

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2010, 8:57 GMT

    Mixed emotions, sad to see him go, but lots of great memories...

  • Wolver on November 4, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    Good player. SA will miss him, is the right time to go though with younger players coming through. @ Erica Herewini - You should deal with your own issues, many former SA players have been called great servants of the game. Eg. Pollock. It is a great compliment to Ntini to be put on a par with these players.

  • suren on November 4, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    I think this is a time to also recall the comments mcmillan made to an Indian player at start of the deracializing of cricket in SA. For the greater good if this man is a man please apologize or defend what you did. Ntini was a great player who often saved South Africa in some games.

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2010, 1:33 GMT

    A great and untiring fast bowler, a rare these days. He will be at peak when the pitch favours the bowlers. More, he is so humorous and ever agile.

  • anson on November 4, 2010, 0:38 GMT

    I was at the Queens Park Oval when he had his best analysis in a match thgh i was gutted at the time i could'nt help but admire the skill and ruthless efficiency he showed that.....and after all that he went for a jog around the Queen's Park Savannah .....I'll miss that smile and his running back to his mark he was all that a cricketer should be !!!!!!

  • vik on November 3, 2010, 21:19 GMT

    poorly written headline, especially the quotation. this is a cliched statement and there is no malice intended from BMac. The quotations suggest otherwise ..

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2010, 21:04 GMT

    Great Player....Probably the best out of South Africa when it comes to spirit of the game or shall we say mankind.

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2010, 21:03 GMT

    Great Player. Often called a "servant" by saffas in "apartheid sarcastic ways"

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