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Team Cricket ready to take on BrightRock challenge

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The former cricketers and their manager Jonty Rhodes will make their way towards Verneukpan on Thursday to prepare for their leg of the contest that starts on Friday.

Former Protea fast bowlers Makhaya Ntini and Monde Zondeki, as well as hard-hitting batsman Lance Klusener make up the last team which will tackle the BrightRock Battle of the Sports extreme adventure on Friday at Verneukpan in the far western region of the Northern Cape.

The former cricketers and their manager Jonty Rhodes will make their way towards Verneukpan on Thursday to prepare for their leg of the contest that starts on Friday. They are set to finish their part of the 200km trek on Tuesday next week.

The BrightRock Battle of the Sports Challenge has already tested the mettle of teams Rugby, Athletics and Soccer with the pressure now being on the cricket legends.

The times of each of the teams will not be revealed until the final squad, Team Cricket, have completed circumnavigating Verneukpan. The results of the challenge will be announced on October 16.

Until then, between October 9 and 12 the three cricketers will compete for ultimate bragging rights under the watchful eye of Rhodes and expedition leader Erik Vermeulen who already has 600km under his belt having led the other three teams on the route.

The three cricket legends will compete for the ultimate bragging rights to see which sporting code can circumnavigate the 200km pan in the fastest time. And looking at the team there is very little doubt over why they are so confident.

Firstly, Ntini who retired in 2011 and was the first black player to play for the Proteas, reached second place in the ICC Test bowling ranking and is also the third only South African cricketer to take 300 Test wickets and the only black South African cricketer to have played 100 Tests.

Zondeki, for his part, will be remembered for struggling in his first Test against England in 2003 when injury restricted his bowling to just a few overs, but he still managed to score 59 in the first innings and help put on 150 for the eighth wicket.

Klusener, the last member of the trio, is fondly remembered for his contributions in ODIs in which he became feared as a hard-hitting batsman as well as a handy medium-pace bowler. Klusener was voted “Man of the Tournament” during the 1999 Cricket World Cup. He was also voted as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2000. Since retiring in 2004 he has been coaching both locally and abroad.

These lads know all about grit and determination.

Ahead of their tour team manager Rhodes was confident his cricketers were going to finish off strongly. “Our team has had an extra week to prepare. This should play to our advantage. I specifically chose two of our fast bowlers as they very often have to endure for up to six hours per day,” he said.

All funds raised in this event will be used to help vulnerable communities hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Events to Aid CEO, Clive Grinaker encouraged the public to become part of this initiative. “We appeal to sports loving South Africans to support our athletes doing this 200km challenge and to make a donation,” he said.

To make a donation go to the BrightRock Battle of the Sports website and click on either ‘quick donate’ or ‘donate’.

Teams competing in the Challenge:

RUGBY: Hanyani Shimange, John Smit & Schalk Brits. Managed by Butch James.

ATHLETICS: Bongmusa Mthembu, David Gatebe and Jenna Challenor. Manager – Bruce Fordyce.

SOCCER: Matthew Booth, Siyabonga Nomvethe & Teko Modise. Manager – Neil Tovey.

CRICKET: Lance Klusener, Makhaya Ntini, Monde Zondeki. Manager – Jonty Rhodes.