Proteas skipper Smith pays tribute to Ntini

South Africa captain Graeme Smith on Wednesday paid rich tributes to Makhaya Ntini, who has announced his retirement from international cricket, saying the paceman was a great servant to the game.

Ntini officially announced his retirement from international cricket Tuesday although he will represent his country one more time.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola announced that the best black bowler produced by the nation would wear the green and gold for a final time in a January 9 Twenty20 clash against India in Durban.

Smith, who is in Dubai with the South African team to play Pakistan in the neutral venue series, said Ntini served his country with honour.

“Makhaya epitomised what the Proteas stood for and has been a great servant to the game both on and off the field,” said Smith in a statement released by the team management. “I am most grateful to have been part of his career and successes and wish him all of the best with his life after international cricket.”

‘Lasting legacy’
The 33-year-old Ntini, who played under Smith since 2003, made the last of 101 Test appearances in December 2009 after capturing 390 Test wickets and 266 in the one-day version of the game.

Smith, who missed the third one-dayer against Pakistan on Tuesday—which South Africa won by two runs—due to hand injury, praised Ntini’s energy level.

“He [Ntini] brought so much energy and laughter to the team, not forgetting that he is one of the fittest players I know, and as a captain it was always a pleasure to be able to call on him,” said Smith, who hailed Ntini as one of the greats.

“I am so proud of his achievements, his records speak for themselves, and he leaves behind a lasting legacy for many to aspire to.

“He has been a pioneer for youngsters out there and has represented every South African while he has donned the Proteas jersey.”—AFP

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