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Back You are here: Home Sports Cricket Western Cape Solomzi "Solo" Nqweni - Grey High's Fast Man
Sunday, 20 March 2011 19:26

Solomzi "Solo" Nqweni - Grey High's Fast Man

T20 cricket has taken the world by storm. One only has to look at the millions spent on top players for the T20 Indian Premier League to realize, whether us purists like it or not, that T20 is here to stay and revolutionise cricket as we know it. While I write this article the Cricket World Cup is raging on, with the minnows looking decidedly out of their league in the 50 Over format of the game. Its only natural as the longer the game the more skill, technique and dare I say professionalism is required in order to perform effectively.

With all this in mind, this talented cricketer spotted at the Standard Bank Schools Pro 20 might not have been in the wicket-taking columns but, in my view, his performances, not always in winning sides highlight the fact that they are two future potential Protea material.

Name: Solomzi “Solo” Nqweni

School: Grey High (Warriors Franchise)

Right-Arm Medium Fast

Fast bowlers have always been a dime a dozen here in South Africa. While we’ve produced the likes of Donald, Pollock, Ntini, Steyn and Morkel, our young out and out quickies have taken time to readjust to the cauldron of professional cricket.

One only has to look at the problems that have plagued Morne Morkel for a while, front foot no-balls and leg-side wides to mention a few. It seemed that he was striving to bowl at maximum speed and make use of his height to generate awkward bounce and in this obsession his discipline was thrown out of the window.

A year and a bit ago however Morkel readjusted his technique to focus more on bowling the ball in good areas consistently whilst not focusing on his out and out pace. The result was he was bowling the ball in the mid 130’s, more the domain of a Medium pacer, yet his height meant that even though he was bowling in bog standard areas he was generating an awkward height for batsman to deal with. The result was a far more disciplined Morkel, conceding far fewer singles and, more importantly for the Proteas, a constant wicket taker.

Roll forward to 2011 and Morne Morkel has managed to maintain that discipline, but, perhaps as a result of his focus on bowling the ball in good areas as opposed to striving for out and out pace, his pace and bounce have hovered around the mid 140’s naturally. That’s only natural when you’re close to 7 foot tall.

This has been a prime motivating factor for a young man in his Matric year at Grey High in Port Elizabeth. Solomzi Nqweni, or Solo as he is known to his mates, is quite a tall lad, hovering a tad over the 6 foot mark which is quite tall even by South African standards. As a result there’s no surprise that he’s been a consistent quickie for Grey and Eastern Province, however it could all have been very different.

“I was born in Gauteng, in Johannesburg. My parents wanted me to attend a top school and I was shipped off to stay with my Gran in Port Elizabeth. At first I was at Lorraine Primary School before moving to Grey.”

“I made the EP U13B side in Grade 7 as a No. 3 batsman. When I went to Grey though they had the EP U13A batsman batting at 3, so I was forced to bat at 7 and work on my bowling.”

Its fair to say he hasn’t looked back since. Odd that the slightest bit supposed misfortune can turn a young man’s career from average to extremely promising. For almost everyone watching the young man perform for the very first time, the first thing one picks up is his unorthodox bowling action. It seems more of a Carribean style bowling style and, well, it’s not the worst thing to do considering their fast bowling pedigree.

It seems a style maybe at first modelled on someone but if one looks at it carefully its something he feels comfortable with and has probably been borne out of the fact that he hasn’t been drilled in a regimental style to bowl in a more orthodox style. This is possibly because for a long time he was considered a batsman in his Primary School days. Even today however top coaches have tried unsuccessfully to remodel his action.

“It’s a very natural thing my bowling action, its not modelled on anyone. A lot of people always comment on it and a lot of coaches have tried to change it but I’ve stuck with it and I feel very comfortable with it.”

In recent times the Warriors franchise has produced accurate seamers who generally bowl a very good line and length such as Rusty Theron and Wayne Parnell. Rusty in particular, who happens to be an Old Grey boy himself, has become world renowned as a ‘death bowler’.

“We joke that the Grey 1st XI pitch is the N1. In fact most pitches in the Eastern Cape are like that so we bowlers have to work extremely hard to get wickets. It generally means focusing heavily on bowling a good line and length and in a good channel because if you stray slightly you’re going to travel.”

“It’s why I’ve also been forced to bowl like that and have ignored striving for out and out pace. If the pace does come, which I’m sure it will, it will be as a result of a natural progression.”

One of the biggest problems facing players at Eastern Cape schools are the distances needed to travel. Top opposition are few and far between in the Port Elizabeth area so teams like Grey have to travel hours to play decent opposition.

 

“We’re used to it by now. What’s the point in driving 20 minutes, romping the team and then heading home? No thanks, I’d rather travel for hours to play quality opposition and really get tested and improve my game. This has worked well because teams like St Andrews in Grahamstown have had some top quality players in recent years so I like to think my game has improved drastically as a result of that.”

 

This attitude has naturally seen Solo push for higher honours and he has been duly rewarded for his hard working mentality and natural ability. He made his debut for the highly prized Grey 1st XI when he was still in Grade 10 and was invited to the National Junior Training Camp run by Ray Jennings in October 2010.

“The National Camp was an experience for me. We were really put through our paces at HPC in Pretoria. Unfortunately I had a bit of a shin injury halfway through the camp. I did however recover in time to represent EP at Coca-Cola Week last year.”

Young Solo, has the world at his feet. With proper management and the correct opportunities there is absolutely no reason why he can’t be in the big leagues sooner rather than later. He has the work ethic, the attitude, the humility and most importantly the talent to go all the way.

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