Ntini the first black African cricketer to play for South Africa, has alleged racism within the South African team during his playing days. Ntini came out in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and joins a list of former players who opened up about their experiences with racism, revealing that more often than not he was left feeling lonely, to the extent of avoiding travelling in the team bus when he could.
“I would say, ‘I’ll see you back at the hotel’. And then I would run all the way back to the hotel,” Ntini said on SABC’s Morning Live on Friday (July 17), who played alongside the likes of Lance Klusener, Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock among others. “People would never understand why I was doing that, and I would never say to them this is why I’m doing this; to avoid A, B, C, D. It became my best thing ever, right through my career, not to have to worry about someone else. I would say I would meet them at the ground. I was running away from that loneliness – driving from the hotel, 20 minutes to the ground, and driving back from the ground, 20 minutes to the hotel. If I was sitting in the back, the rest of them are sitting in the front.
“I was forever lonely. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of loneliness, is to not have someone knocking on your door and say, let’s go for dinner. That’s loneliness,” the former pacer said. “You’d watch friends calling each other and then having plans right in front of you and then you’d be skipped. When you walk into a breakfast room – and you’re the first one there – you’d see the next person that walks in, he will never come to sit next to you. It’s that loneliness … we’re playing in the same team, practice at the same time, bowl to them, wear the same clothes and sing the same national anthem.”