Rising young Proteas fast bowler Lutho Sipamla says that being surrounded by so many former South Africa stars in the national set-up can only help take his game to the next level and make the transition to the highest level much easier.
Mark Boucher is the current Team Director and handed the 22-year-old his one-day international debut this past summer.
The former Warriors paceman, who has moved to the Imperial Lions in the off season, played four out of the Proteas’ six 50-over games against England and Australia. This added to his tally of five T20Is he had already played in last year.
Sipamla has an impressive domestic record, already claiming 77 wickets in 27 first-class games, whilst also collecting 59 wickets in just over 60 limited-overs games.
He says that being surrounded by the likes of Boucher, batting consultant Jacques Kallis, bowling coach Charl Langeveldt and fielding coach Justin Ontong have definitely aided his progress.
“It’s awesome having those kinds of people in our team,” he said. “People who have played for the Proteas and people who have been in our shoes.
“They’ve walked the talk they know what it takes to be international players. They’ve done it all and when they talk to us on certain things, you can relate to them because they’ve experienced it themselves. When you ask questions it’s kind of easy for them to explain and get through to us because they did it.
“A simple example is Charl Langeveldt bowling at the death defending six or seven runs, he’s done that, he knows the pressures you go through as a bowler and it’s always nice to learn from people like that and it’s great having these guys around.”
Sipamla, who only debuted as a senior cricket three years ago, has come on wonderfully during that period, drawing plenty of praise for his maturity and growth.
He is still developing as a player, but nonetheless looked back proudly on the past season, saying:
“It was a great experience to have been given the opportunity to represent my country. We had good campaigns against England and then Australia and it was a wonderful experience.
“It was a good milestone for me to achieve, playing for my country in one-day cricket. I was part of a very young side, a young squad where everyone was working hard towards achieving the same goal.
“We managed to play well as a unit and we gelled quite nicely. So it was a good time.”
Sipamla, like most of his team-mates, pinpointed south Africa’s 3-0 series thrashing of Australia as the highlight.
“The Australian series was something special and I just feel that everyone knew what their roles were exactly,” he said. “Even though we were a young squad, everyone worked hard and executed exactly how they were expected to.
“Everyone grew in that series and it was a great campaign.”
The youngster is still waiting to formally meet his new team-mates in Johannesburg, but says he is excited at the prospect of cricket resuming in the coming weeks following government’s go-ahead for non-contact sport to resume after it was prohibited in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sipamla added: “I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to practice. It’s been quite a long wait, so we’re excited to get going, work on my craft, work on my skill and work towards the new season.”