White Lightning Strikes | Daily News


 

ALLAN ANTHONY DONALD

White Lightning Strikes

That South Africa produced some marvelous cricketers before the inhuman apartheid rule came into being and after the inhuman racist rule was erased from their constitution there was no doubt.

Before apartheid set in, the country gave to the game cricketers who were not only STARS in their own right , but could have held their own against the best in the world or even been better.

Names of the pre apartheid rule who made waves were Greame Pollock, Colin Bland, Barry Richards, John Waite, Hugh Tayfield, Russel Endean, Roy Mclean, Ken McGlew come to mind.

Apartheid rule

During the apartheid rule there were a plethora of dream cricketers who could not showcase to the cricket world their exciting talent. They were Greame Barlow, Mike Procter, Barry Richards, brothers Greame and Peter Pollock and several others whose names do not come to mind.

Once free from the shackles of apartheid South Africa had its first captain in Kepler Wessels who having played for South Africa also played Test cricket for Australia, Hansie Cronje who went out in disgrace, Jonty Rhodes, Lance Klusner, Herschelle Gibbs, Kaques Kallis and A.B. De Villiers.

Then in the first team after apartheid was a fast bowler who shook and had opposing batsmen shaky kneed at the crease was ALLAN ANTHONY DONALD who we feature as our proud ‘SPORTS LEGEND’ this Friday.

Lovely run up

DONALD had a lovely run up and a perfect fast bowler’s action and he was so speedy that the media tagged him ‘white lightning’. He was lightning fast and helped take South African cricket to different levels with clever variations of a fast bowler’s armory and a terrifying cleverly concealed bouncer.

After being in cricket’s wilderness the South Africans once free of the shackles and getting back to the world of Test cricket showed that it was a crime committed on humanity by their politicians that also stalled them from producing some super fine cricketers who proved at times that they were better than the best known.

And among them were Wesells, Cronjie, Dave Richards, Pat Symcox, Bret Schultz, Jonty Rhodes, Darryl Cullinan, the irrepressible all rounder Lance Klusner and several others.

Not won World Cup

But sadly while excelling in Test cricket, it is sad to note that the South Africans have not yet won the 50-over World Cup tournament. They came very close to entering a final and going for the Cup, but it was DONALD who we feature who was instrumental if we are allowed to say so who contributed to that failure. That semi-final in 1999 was a must win for both Australia and South Africa to move into the finals. South Africa looked set to win with Klusner in full cry and SA needing 16 runs off the last 8 balls to win with DONALD the last man in.

Klusner hit a six and scampered a single next ball to keep the strike and Klusner hit two fours that brought the scores level with four balls to be bowled. Klusner failed to score off the next ball.

Donald dreaming

Left hander Klusner hit the ball down the ground and ran for a single. But it seems as though the situation had DONALD dreaming, because instead of running to the other end, he was like a little boy lost dropping his bat, picking it up running too late only for Aussie wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist to gleefully dislodge the bails and have DONALD run out much to the disgust of his team and celebrations of the Aussies.

Although the game ended in a tie, SA had previously lost to Australia in the Super Six Game, and needed to win outright to move to the final.

Having said that we now move on to DONALD’S career. When he made his made their first tour to Sri Lanka with the SA team, he had Brett Shultz who was tagged the ‘bear’ simply destroyed Aruna Ranatunga’s Sri Lankans winning the series without having to raise much of a sweat.

Back in Test cricket

DONALD debuted in Test cricket on April 18,1992 when SA played its First Test after gaining admission back into the Test scene. They faced West Indies on their return in Barbados where they lost that Test by 52 runs. ‘White Lightning’ took 2 for 67 and 4 for 77 and had the satisfaction of capturing the wicket of the famous Brian Lara. But the Test that DONALD will remember is the one against England at Trent Bridge played in 1998. Batting first SA made 374 and England replied with 336 with DONALD pocketing five wickets. SA in their second essay made 208, with England needing 247 for victory.

When DONALD began to bowl at the wicket was Mike Atherton. In a tense game DONALD bowling at top speed delivered multiple short pitched balls at Atherton who had many narrow shaves but remained unconquered at the end of the day.

Respective autobiographies

The next day partnered by Alec Stewart England were able to score the required runs with Atherton making a dogged 98. Later in their respective autobiographies they agreed that it was the most intense period of Test cricket that they ever played. In appreciation Atherton presented DONALD the gloves he wore on that occasion for auction for DONALD’S benefit year. After playing in only 72 Test matches he captured 330 wickets taking 20 five wickets in an inning and three 10 wicket hauls in Tests with his best bowling effort being 8 for 71.

DONALD sported the SA cap in 164 one-day internationals taking 272 wickets with two five wicket hauls and his best return being 6 for 23.‘White Lightning' was born on October 20, 1966. He was classed as one of the most successful Test bowlers. He was top of the ICC Test rankings in 1998. In one day games he was second to Shaun Pollock.

Not lost to cricket

After retiring he was not lost to the game but coached many international teams including Sri Lanka teams. He was also assistant coach of the Kent County team in 2018 and 2019. He also coached the England team and also Warwickshire County Cricket Club. He was also the bowling coach of New Zealand in the ODI series against Pakistan and the 2011 cricket World Cup team.

Then in July 2011 Gary Kirsten the former SA successful opener invited him to as bowling coach for South Africa. Later he was the bowling coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.

South African cricket is not likely to see another explosive pace bowler of the calibre of DONALD. Many batsmen who faced him had admitted being scary when facing him.

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