Ntini regrets not becoming SA`s highest wicket taker

Last Updated: Jan 09, 2011, 15:02 PM IST

Durban: South Africa bowling great Makhaya Ntini will bid adieu to the international cricket on Sunday after a Twenty20 match against India with an unfulfilled wish – not being able to surpass country-mate Shaun Pollock`s record as the highest Test wicket-taker in the national team.

Ntini, the first black African to represent South Africa, had to settle for a second place finish on the wickets count, scalping 390 victims in 101 Tests at an average of 28.82 before being shown the door by the selectors just over a year ago.

Pollock, his most frequent fast bowling partner, has taken 421 wickets in 108 Tests at an average of 23.11.

"I wanted to overtake Shaun Pollock as the highest Test wicket taker in the national team and representing my country 100 times was not the memorable occasion it could have been," the 33-year-old pacer said.

One of South Africa`s most popular sportspersons Ntini will be saying a goodbye to the game before a nearly 50,000 crowd, the largest gathering in African cricket history, at the iconic Moses Mabhida soccer stadium that hosted one of the World Cup semi-finals last year.

Before the start of the match, the Standard Bank Pro20 international, Ntini and iconic Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar will both receive awards for their services to cricket from South African President Jacob Zuma at the stadium.

The former herdboy from Mdingi in the Eastern Cape Ntini thanked Cricket South Africa for giving him the opportunity to finish his international career in front of such a huge home crowd.

"To be part of that (ceremony) will be a great and emotional experience for me. It will be emotional saying goodbye to something you love. It will be one of those days that you will never forget," said Ntini, who is working on his idea of building an academy in East London.

Two of his most impressive Test match spells were his 13 for 132 against the West Indies in Trinidad in 2005 and becoming the only South African to take 10 wickets at the Lord`s in 2003.

Ntini had received his green and gold cap when he made his Test debut against Sri Lanka at Newlands in 1998. He retired from Test cricket last year in November.