November 16, 1986, Potchefstroom
Right hand bat
Eddie Leie grew up as a medium-pacer in Potchefstroom and turned out to be a legspinner in Johannesburg. Few cricketers have matched their bowling style to their place of residence better.
The sleepy student town of Potchefstroom is the personification of a dibby-dobbly bowler while the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg calls for a more attacking approach. But Leie discovered that by accident. One day, he just decided to try turning the ball and when it actually spun, he was surprised. He kept at it even as he moved cities to pursue tertiary studies and its success soon saw him picked for provincial sides.
Leie was part of the Lions' franchise academy and made his first-class debut in 2005 but competition from other spinners kept him on the fringes of the squad. In five years, he played just three first-class games before establishing himself regularly, albeit mostly in the amateur team. He made his Lions debut in October 2011 in first-class cricket and only began playing for the limited-overs sides two years later.
When he did play, Leie was as effective at containing as he was in taking wickets and the combination of economical bowling, with enough variations to make a threat, got him noticed. In his arsenal is the googly and the flipper, which he honed through watching YouTube videos of Danish Kaneria, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble.
After a standout twenty-over competition in the 2014-15 summer - Leie was the joint second-highest wicket-taker and had the lowest economy rate among the top 15 - he was awarded a High Performance Contract by CSA. He also impressed Darren Sammy, who captained the Titans that season, and told Leie to put his name in the Caribbean Premier League auction. Leie was contracted by Sammy's team, the St Lucia Zouks, for the 2015 season, a stint that was interrupted by his maiden international call-up. Leie was included in South Africa's T20 squad to tour Bangladesh in July 2015.
Firdose Moonda, July 2015
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