So Makhaya Ntini has turned in his papers and decided to call it quits, and quite frankly nobody really seems to care!
Well, nobody except Makhaya Ntini himself.
For no sooner had the news filtered in that Ntini had stepped down from his role as Zimbabwe’s bowling did the 40-year-old scurry back home to refute the statement.
Speaking to a South African radio station – Radio 2000 – Ntini claims that not only did he not resign but he was forced out by some individuals who went to management and complained about his coaching style.
“The honest truth is that I didn’t resign,” Ntini is quoted as saying.
“I received a text message from the MD (Faisal Hasnain), saying that he would like to talk to me.
“. . . He reminded me that we had a chat about four months ago regarding some of the players’ unhappiness.
“Some of the players and the staff members went to see him and reported that they are not happy with the job I am doing and that the job that I was given was not meant for me,” he said.
Ntini goes on to say that he was told he would not be part of the Bangladesh tour and alleges that he was then asked to step down. He lashed out at some unknown parties, calling them cowards.
Ntini’s case – from his appointment, tenure and apparent dismissal or resignation – is an interesting case.
For one, true to the alleged complaints, the former South African fast bowler had no place being on the Chevrons dug out in the first place.
It was Zimbabwe Cricket’s wish, as the employee put it, that his 101 Tests, 173 ODIs and 10 T20Is for the Proteas would translate into something concrete in terms of coaching and follow the footsteps of some players that managed to make that transition.
Amongst them Zimbabwe’s own Grant and Any Flower, Heath Streak, Ryan Harris, India’s Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble to name but a few.
The only difference was that the above all have certified papers while Ntini has none.
What should have been was to bring in Ntini as a consultant as was the plan when he and Marvin Atapattu were first brought in back in 2016.
This is not to say that Ntini’s two-year stint has been a total disaster as the 40-year-old brought two crucial things into the Chevrons dressing room; namely an infectious smile and a strong adherence to fitness.
The Mdingi Express, as Ntini is also known, was always the life of the party be it whistling during post-match interviews, sharing a joke or two with his players or greeting journalists with a huge smile on his face.
His love for fitness is well documented. And Ntini would often push his players to their mental and physical limits, something that caused friction with him and the players and ultimately led to his “forced” resignation as he puts it.
As far as saying the individuals who complained to management are cowards, one can sum it up as a classic case of Karma.
Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa coach, has accused former South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini of stabbing him in the back in his autobiography “Taking the Mickey – The Inside Story”.
In it, Arthur claims that Ntini betrayed him by complaining to senior administrators after he was dropped from the team.
Arthur alleges that Ntini did not handle being dropped well and took the issue to some of the country’s senior cricket administrators, including Cricket South Africa President Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka and former president Ray Mali.
Ntini was dropped from the one-day international side at the start of the 2008/9 season, with Arthur stepping down the following season.
It remains to be seen whether or not Ntini’s complaints caused Arthur’s resignation.
It also remains unclear if there is any truth in his own accusations of betrayal.
What we do know is that Karma has an annoying habit of biting back when one least expects it and most importantly, Ntini should just be grateful he had that job, pick himself up and move on.
Until we meet again Makhaya, until we meet again!
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