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February 7, 2019

‘Playing with de Villiers was a life-changing experience’

Sports

February 7, 2019

CENTURION: South Africa seamer Lutho Sipamla, who made his international debut in the second T20I against Pakistan last week, has credited his experience of playing under AB de Villiers in the Mzansi Super League as a “life-changing” one.

While his franchise, Tshwane Spartans struggled through their campaign, Sipamla repeatedly shone both at the top of the innings and at the death for his team, gaining invaluable experience from his legendary captain along the way, as well as attracting the attention of the national selectors.

“I gained a lot of experience playing with AB,” said Sipamla.“Sharing the dressing room, training and playing with him was life-changing for me because he kept me calm. His presence calms you because he speaks to you and gives you plans. I learned a lot from that experience because at times he allowed me to set the field by myself, according to what I wanted, to help my bowling.”

Sipamla found the experience of making his international debut “impeccable”, and said words were inadequate to describe his feelings on Sunday, at a packed Wanderers’ stadium, where South Africa beat the world’s top-ranked T20 side to clinch an unassailable lead in the three-match series.

“Walking onto the pitch to a full house and knowing that I am realising a childhood dream was an impeccable moment,” Sipamla said after his debut. “Actually, words cannot describe how I felt at that moment.”

The young seamer admitted to feeling nervous before the game, though he didn’t let the nerves show with the ball in hand. “The nerves were definitely there. I guess anyone will be nervous on the day of making a debut for the Proteas.”

Sipamla did not take a wicket in his first international match, but he looked the part, reining in the Pakistan batsmen after their explosive start.Brought on as first change after Babar Azam had pillaged 30 runs from the first two overs, Sipamla gave away just five singles in his first over, and followed that up with three dot balls in a row to Babar when he came back on for a second over after the Powerplay.

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