Omphile Abel Ramela
March 14, 1988, Soweto, Johhanesburg
Left hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
A left-hander with the temperament of a scholar, Omphile Ramela is unusual for a South African cricketer in all the right ways. He is one of a handful of black African batsmen to make their name in the longer format and one of a select group of professional players with a degree behind his name. Ramela, who also speaks five different languages, was studying towards a Masters in Economics while captaining the Cobras.
Those twin achievements came a decade after his talent was spotted in his home province, Gauteng. After being schooled at St John's College in Johannesburg, the alma mater of Clive Rice, Ramela played for Gauteng Schools in the 2005-06 season and debuted for the province the following year. He then moved to the Cape, where he played for Boland and appeared sporadically for the Cobras between 2009 and 2014, during which time he was also studying.
Ramela was part of the South African National Academy squad in 2014 and it allowed him to make a step up. The 2014-15 season was his breakthrough year. He finished as the Cobras' top run-scorer in the first-class competition with 724 runs at 48.26, which included a double hundred. He was also their second-highest run-getter in their triumphant 20-over campaign with 246 runs at a strike rate of 114.41.
That earned him a call-up to the South Africa A side in the winter of 2015. Ramela scored a century on debut in Wayanad against India A. The following summer, Ramela was named Cobras' four-day captain. He played for South Africa A against England and, later, against Zimbabwe, scoring another hundred in Harare.
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