West Indies legend Michael Holding has praised former South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini for achieving huge success despite facing discrimination in the team. In his latest book ‘Why We Kneel, How We Rise’ – which shares the stories of several athletes and their experiences of racism – Holding revealed the treatment Ntini dealt with throughout his career.
Notably, Ntini was South Africa’s first black African international cricketer. He ended his decade-long career as the third-highest wicket-taker for Proteas in Test cricket. The right-arm speedster claimed 390 wickets at an average of 28.82.
While speaking at Cricket South Africa’s Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings, Holding recounted some of the stories that Ntini had told him of being treated differently as if he didn’t belong to the group.
“We all know he was extremely fit. We all know the stories of him running to the ground. A lot of people thought it was part of his training regime. When he spoke to me, he explained to me the reason that he ran to the ground and did not take the bus. Because when he went on the bus, he felt as though he did not belong because he was treated as though he did not belong,” said Holding as quoted by Mirror.co.uk.
Holding went on to laud Ntini for suffering all the discrimination and still showing the tough character to remain a dedicated server of South African cricket.
“Makhaya Ntini suffered all that. I am thankful to him to bear it out and still be so successful. That shows the strength of character of the man. Hopefully, people will recognize, even those who did things like that perhaps did not recognize the hurt and the harm they were doing, and the attitude that they had wasn’t right, hopefully, they will all learn and recognize their faults and their mistakes, and they will be willing to learn and willing to change,” Holding added.
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