Thami Lungisa Tsolekile
October 09, 1980, Cape Town, Cape Province
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Thami Tsolekile, the South African wicketkeeper who played three Tests in 2004, was handed a 12-year ban by Cricket South Africa along with three others in August 2016 "contriving to fix" in the 2015 Ram Slam, and failing to disclose the full details of an approach.
Tsolekile was a prodigy as a youngster, but he needed two goes at professional cricket. Although known as "Mara" by his friends on the dusty streets of Langa township in Cape Town, principally for his skills with a football at his feet, it was his scholarship to nearby Pinelands school which put him on a path to cricket stardom. At Pinelands, Tsolekile broke almost every existing Cape Town schoolboy cricket record, many of them set a few years previously by Jacques Kallis, and at the same time proved himself a superb hockey player.
He went on to play hockey for South Africa at full international level, scoring on his debut, but concentrated on cricket as it offered the chance to make a genuine career from the sport. After making his first-class debut as a 19-year-old in 2000, he captained the South African team at the Under-19 World Cup the following year. His glovework was sound and impressed the selectors on the 2003 A tour of Australia enough to earn him elevation to the full squad for the tour of England which followed.
His Test debut came against in 2004 when Mark Boucher was controversially dropped for the tour India. His was dropped following the opening Test against England and soon drifted out of the game. However, a second chance came in 2009 when he was tapped up by the Lions franchise and he quickly became consistent domestic performer. South Africa A honours followed, as did captaincy, and in 2011 he was back on the national selectors' radar. The following year, after Mark Boucher's retirement with an eye injury, he was back in the Test squad. Again he could not hold his place, though, and darker things lay ahead of him, effectively ending a promising career.
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