Neil Douglas McKenzie
November 24, 1975, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
King Edward VII, RAU
Popular, mildly eccentric and unassuming, Neil McKenzie was a stalwart in South Africa's middle-order for four years in the early 2000s, despite a less-than-promising start as an opening batsman in Sri Lanka in 2000. From good cricketing stock - father Kevin was a carefree middle-order batsman who represented South Africa during the rebel era - Neil captained both the South African Schools and Under-19 teams before falling under the influence of former New Zealand captain Ken Rutherford at Gauteng. He made his maiden Test and ODI centuries against New Zealand and Sri Lanka respectively during the summer of 2000-01 and was able to take advantage of the confusion over the roles of Daryll Cullinan and Jonty Rhodes to establish himself as a more-or-less permanent fixture in both teams. Questions were asked of his ability to cope with the very best spinners, but not enough to warrant his three-and-a-half year exile from the side from March 2004, at a time when he ought to have been at the height of his career. He was eventually recalled to face West Indies at Cape Town in January 2008. Neat and economical at the crease, McKenzie is particularly strong on the leg side. On the tour of Bangladesh which followed, he was involved in a world record opening stand of 415 with his captain Graeme Smith. Prior to South Africa's tour of England, he signed for Durham for the early part of the 2008 season.
Peter Robinson and Cricinfo staff June 2008
Batting & Fielding