Public Eye (South Africa)

Former Maritzburg College pupil selected for SA-A cricket team

- Prashalan Govender

Former Maritzburg College old boy, Kurtlyn Mannikam (27), is one step closer to achieving his goal of representi­ng the Proteas cricket team after being selected for the South Africa A side currently playing against India.

The Ladysmith-born cricketer has been playing the gentleman's game since he was five years old, but said that he only became aware of his ability to make cricket a career when he was 13 or 14 years old.

"Fortunatel­y, my parents and coaches recognised my talent earlier than I, which led to my selection to play at provincial level at just nine years old. From then, I have played many significan­t matches, but none as big as playing for SA-A against India as they have some of the greatest cricket players in the world," Mannikam said.

Mannikam attributes his love for the sport to his experience of playing informal cricket games with his friends and family from a young age. His knowledge of the game stems from his parents who were actively involved in the sport. His father, Jay, was a cricket coach and his mother, Natasha managed a cricket team. As a result, he spent a lot of time during his formative years around the cricket field.

Exhilarate­d at being selected for the SA-A team, Mannikam told Public Eye that his success can be attributed to a number of factors. "I had a lot of help from the Ladysmith Cricket Academy (LCA), coaches, my friends, parents and coach Shane Burger," he said.

Mannikam also said that the road to success has not been without challenges. These include being left out of teams, breaking his ankle while training just before the Africa Cup, and, more recently, being diagnosed with a heart condition. Although he broke his ankle just before the cup and was out for nearly three months because of his injury, he still managed to play in the finals.

The diagnosis of the heart condition hit him hard, but he said he is working through it and is looking forward to overcoming the challenge and confidentl­y pushing forward.

Mannikam said he plans to work as hard as he can to achieve his longstandi­ng goal of playing for the Proteas. He added that playing for the SA-A team has reinvigora­ted the drive to reach that goal.

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 ?? ?? Pictured: Kurtlyn Mannikam in his Tuskers uniform.
Pictured: Kurtlyn Mannikam in his Tuskers uniform.
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