South Africa legend backs all-rounder to be Hambledon hit

Former South Africa opening batsman and head coach Gary Kirsten
Former South Africa opening batsman and head coach Gary Kirsten
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

  • Gary Kirsten tips Shane Nkomo to be ‘great asset’ at Ridge Meadow
  • Leg-spinner set for debut in home clash with Hursley Park
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South Africa legend Gary Kirsten has backed Shane Nkomo to be a hit at Hambledon.

The Dons are set to unleash the overseas all-rounder on visitors Hursley Park in Southern Electric Premier League division two tomorrow.

I saw immediately he was a player with great ball-striking ability and potential

Former South Africa batsman Gary Kirsten

Nkomo will follow in the footsteps of another product of Cape Town’s Langa Cricket Club, Nono Pongolo, in representing the Ridge Meadow outfit.

Kirsten has worked closely with the 28-year-old, who has played twenty20 cricket for Western Province.

And the man who racked up more than 14,000 runs in 101 Test matches and 185 one-day internationals for the Proteas, reckons the leg-spinner will be a huge asset to the club.

He said: ‘I started working with Shane about 18 months ago when I began a coaching programme at the Langa Cricket Club.

‘I saw immediately he was a player with great ball-striking ability and potential.

‘I really enjoyed his passion for the game and his work ethic, too.

‘He was always at the nets whenever I came down.

‘I also watched him coach and could see he is a caring guy who has good thinking on the game and knows how to get a message across.

‘I have enjoyed working with him.

‘I’m sure he will do Hambledon proud and be a great asset to the club.’

Hambledon have had to be patient in getting their man – after paperwork held up Nkomo’s switch.

But he comes into a squad in good heart after a slow start to the season.

The Dons suffered a thrilling one-wicket defeat to division two leaders Portsmouth at Ridge Meadow last weekend.

The gutsy display came on the back of an 88-run thrashing of Langley Manor.

Rupert Hetherington was the chief destroyer that day and he returns to the side, who sit seventh in the table, after a week away.

James Marshall, who starred with six wickets and an unbeaten 35 in last month’s tie with Fawley, is also back.

Ian Turner is unavailable, while Spencer Le-Clercq is ruled out with a broken finger and Mark Woodman drops to the second team.