FIVE years after completing a very successful career as an international cricketer for South Africa, Makhaya Ntini has a chance to nurture young talent and bring them to the big stage, having signed on as Zimbabwe’s bowling coach.
His two-year run will begin with an important first step — the World T20 in India in March.
Since his retirement in 2011, Ntini has been active on the South African cricket scene as a commentator.
He has long wanted to open a cricket academy in the Eastern Cape, a hotbed of black South African talent, but has struggled for funding.
While he continues efforts towards that, Ntini hopes he can also put his expertise — the benefit of 101 Tests, 173 ODIs and 10 T20Is — to good use for Zimbabwe.
“I’m looking forward to working with my neighbouring country. I think there’s a lot of talent there that we need to find and nurture. This is also about following my dreams of coaching and bringing guys through,” he told ESPNcricinfo.
The top eight teams have direct entry into the main draw of the World T20, but Zimbabwe, who are ranked 14th, will have to go through a qualifying round.
They have been grouped with Scotland, Afghanistan and Hong Kong and will play one match with each team. Only if they finish on top will they move on to the main tournament.
“The most important thing is that the team qualifies for the main draw,” Ntini said.
Since the end of the last World T20, Zimbabwe have played 17 matches and won only four of them. They go into this year’s edition having levelled a four-match series against Bangladesh, but will be wary of Afghanistan, to whom they have lost back-to-back series. — ESPNcricinfo.