Hambledon all-rounder set for battle with Lions

Nono Pongolo in action for Hambledon. Picture: Malcolm Wells (142031-9652)
Nono Pongolo in action for Hambledon. Picture: Malcolm Wells (142031-9652)
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Nono Pongolo is set to play for a Gauteng Invitation XI against the England Lions today.

The fixture – in Soweto, near Johannesburg – is the opening three-day match of the A-team’s South Africa tour.

And all-rounder Pongolo, 25, who was in superb form for Hambledon in the Southern Electric Premier League last summer, is set to lock horns with Hampshire’s James Vince.

Vince is part of the Lions’ touring party, skippered by Jonathan Trott.

The trip will be Trott’s first representative cricket since leaving the Ashes tour of Australia last year following the Brisbane Test.

Pongolo, who has made eight appearances for Gauteng this winter, was delighted with his selection.

‘It’s a wonderful opportunity for me – and to see how far I’ve come as a cricketer,’ he said.

‘The Lions have some seriously good young players in their touring party.

‘I’ve followed James Vince’s development since I initially came across to the premier league and played at Ventnor.

‘Last summer, when I was at Hambledon, I saw him in the flesh a few times and thought what a top player he looked.’

Cape Town-born Pongolo, who scored over 500 runs and took 30 wickets for Hambledon last summer, has already made two first-class half-centuries.

And he celebrated a maiden five-wicket return for Gauteng against Border in November.