Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The Proteas have a rough diamond with an abundance of talent in unassuming Lutho Sipamla and he has the potential to develop into a world-class star.

The 20-year-old fast bowler from Port Elizabeth made his debut in the T20 win over Pakistan at the Bullring on Sunday when he was introduced into the attack with SA’s frontline bowlers struggling. He stabilised the attack to end with figures of 23/0.

The manner in which he frustrated the Pakistani top order earned him praise and he was applauded for his execution and calmness under pressure in his first match. He is due to make a second appearance in the final match at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.

The Proteas are looking to complete a 3-0 series whitewash and Sipamla said while he would like to get his first wicket‚ he  will not put himself under pressure on Wednesday.

“I would like to take a wicket every time I bowl but they will come by doing the right things over and over again.

“It is a process that will come with time‚ but I am looking forward to the moment of taking that first wicket for the Proteas if I get to play in the next game‚” said the young man who looked up to SA legends Makhaya Ntini and Mfuneko Ngam.

“It will definitely be surreal to get my first wicket and a personal milestone. But hopefully it will help the team to win because it is about the team and not individuals.

“I have not been thinking too much about the future because my mind at the moment is on the now. I want to stay here [Port Elizabeth] because the environment is good and I want to play for my country as long as possible.”

Sipamla did not get a wicket in his four overs at the weekend‚ but he laid the foundation for SA’s comeback after a poor start as the Proteas eventually won by seven wickets.

He admitted that he was nervous in the hours leading up to the match.

“The nerves were there definitely there‚” he said. “I guess anyone will be nervous on the day of making a debut for the Proteas. It was about controlling the emotions and soaking everything in.

“Walking on to the pitch to a full house and knowing that I am realising a childhood dream was an impeccable moment. Words cannot explain how I felt at that moment.

“Our captain, David Miller, helped me during the game and he also allowed me to bowl the way I wanted to bowl. When he introduced me‚ he gave me suggestions on field placings and how to bowl because he saw we were in trouble and not bowling the right lines. He asked me to bowl straight and try to control the run rate and I played the role of controlling rather than taking wickets.”

Sipamla added that he tapped into the experience  he picked up from working with former Proteas captain AB de Villiers‚ who captained him at the Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League.

“I gained a lot of experience playing with AB‚” he said. “Sharing the dressingroom‚ training and playing with him was life-changing for me because he kept me calm. His presence calms you because he speaks to you and gives you plans.

“I learned a lot from that experience because at times he allowed me to set the field by myself according to what I wanted to help my bowling.”