The current coach of Zimbabwe, who turns 39, has a big task in hand to revamp Zimbabwe cricket   Getty Images
The current coach of Zimbabwe, who turns 39, has a big task in hand to revamp Zimbabwe cricket Getty Images

Born on July 6, 1977, South Africa‘s premier fast bowler from the early 2000s, Makhaya Ntini, turns 39 on Wednesday. He played for South Africa from 1998-2011. He was the first black South African Test cricketer. He made his international debut against Sri Lanka in the longer format while his first match for his country in colour clothing was against New Zealand. Ntini had a career filled with ups and downs not only on the field but also off the field. In his initial playing days for his country, Ntini was involved in a massive controversy wherein they he was charged and later convicted for rape. He was finally acquitted for the crime as he maintained his innocence and thanked Cricket South Africa (CSA) for sticking by him in his tough time. ALSO READ:Makhaya Nitini rues lack of maturity in Zimbabwe players

Since then, Ntini improved as a cricketer and person for his nation. He had pace but also bowled with a lot more control and variation and succeeded in leading South Africa’s pace department in the coming years. He became the first South African to take 10 wickets at the ‘Mecca of Cricket’, i.e. Lord’s cricket ground in 2003. His best performance came in 2005 against West Indies when he took 13 wickets in a Test. This remains the most wickets taken by a South African cricketer in the longer format. On March 3, 2006, Ntini also achieved the best bowling figures by a South African in an ODI, demolishing Australia with 6 wickets for 22 runs.

In February 2009, he was ranked as the world’s fifth best Test bowler behind Muttiah Muralitharan, Dale Steyn, Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson, but had dropped to being 25th-best ODI bowler, according to the ICC rankings. He played his last match for South Africa against India in a Twenty20 International (T20I). He played for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) from 2008-2010. ALSO READ:MS Dhoni autographs bat for Makhaya Ntini

Currently, the former South African has been serving as the head coach of Zimbabwe after Dav Whatmore was sacked by the Zimbabwean team management. He coached Zimbabwe in the recently concluded ODIs and T20Is series against India wherein the minnows were able to beat India in the first T20I by 2 runs.