Zuma, Malan praise legends’ visit to SA Academy


Promising fast bowler Lwandiswa Zuma says that young players attending the National Academy Programme have benefitted enormously from legendary former Proteas spending time with them over the past few days.

Ex-South Africa stars Herschelle Gibbs, Jonty Rhodes and Robin Peterson, along with Dane Piedt, Kruger Van Wyk and Vincent Barnes joined the 18-man squad for three days this week.

They were part of a brief specialist coaching programme in which they not only ran training drills, but also imparted some of the knowledge they gained from playing at the highest level for a number of years.

“It’s a wonderful initiative to have people that have done so much for the country here,” Zuma said. “I think I speak on behalf of the group to say that we are very privileged to have such legends here with us.

“A lot of what was said had been said by our own coaches, but I think when you hear it from legends, it really kicks in.

“It has a bigger effect on us and hopefully everyone got what they needed to get out of this and we apply it in our games.”

The three-month Academy programme is reaching its climax after starting out at the end of May. It will be followed by the SA Emerging Squad touring Zimbabwe for two four-day matches and three List A unofficial ODIs next month.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to be here because we know there’s a lot of players who would love to be in the position that we are in,” 21-year-old Zuma, who will play for KwaZulu-Natal domestically next season, added. “It’s been great so far, it’s been tough at times, but I think well worth our time.

“I don’t think there’s anyone that hasn’t improved their game in terms of their physical conditioning and in terms of game plans, so we’re looking forward to now implementing what we learnt.”

Another player grateful for the chance to learn from the guest coaches, was Janneman Malan, 21.

“These guys have played a lot of cricket and have a lot of experience, so working with them and getting the opportunity to learn from them has been really good,” he said. “I think whenever we get the chance to feed off someone like Jonty and Hersch, it definitely makes a difference to our games. So it was a privilege to learn from them.”

Batsman Malan from North West admitted that the camp overall has been a wonderful experience for him. He added: “It’s been tough at times, but at the same time I think we’ve learnt a lot about ourselves and our games, which going forward will benefit us a lot.

“Personally I’ve had quite a few things that I needed to sort out coming to the Academy.

“A few small things that I needed to tinker with such as my game plan as well. At this point I feel I will leave here a lot better than when I arrived.”