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CRICKET: Mpho aims to make his mark

PUBLISHED: 12:04 23 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:10 06 July 2010

HE played in the same South African Academy side as Derbyshire's Greg Smith, is close friends with Warwickshire's Imran Tahir and has taken on some of the greatest South African cricketers of all time.

HE played in the same South African Academy side as Derbyshire's Greg Smith, is close friends with Warwickshire's Imran Tahir and has taken on some of the greatest South African cricketers of all time.

But Mpho Sekhoto is looking forward to challenges ahead in Suffolk and Norfolk in forthcoming months.

Lowestoft Town CC's latest overseas player is a top four batsman and right hand off spin bowler who has already enjoyed success in this country.

For the Easterns first-class cricketer in South Africa, who made 66 in his most recent match in his hometown last month, has already scored lots of runs during spells playing in Cornwall, Durham and Hampshire.

Having arrived in Lowestoft on April 10, the 28-year-old has settled in to local action with a quickfire dozen against Topcroft, followed by more than 30 runs on Sunday during Lowestoft's three wicket defeat to Garboldisham.

Admitting he was getting accustomed to the brisk north sea winds that lashed the Denes Oval during training this week, Sekhoto said: “This is like our winter, but I got used to the English weather during my season in Durham. Things went well when I played in Cornwall and I scored lots of runs, but the wet wickets in Durham were difficult.”

Looking forward to getting back to action, he told The Journal: “My first impressions of the club are that there are a lot of youngsters here and it's good to have them in the team as that is great for the future. There is a good mix of senior players as well and it looks like being a good unit - so I am just looking forward to getting playing again all season.”

Back home in South Africa he has played against the likes of Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock and Mark Boucher, while teammates have included Dale Steyn, A B de Villiers and Morne Morkel.

“One of my closest friends in Imran Tahir, who plays for Warwickshire, and I know that Johan (Mostert) and Sammy-Joe (Avontuur) scored a lot of runs in the league during their time here - so I'd love to top that, but of course it depends on the kind of wickets we'll be playing on,” he told The Journal.

Admitting his favourite spot in the batting order was at four, he likes to “build an innings” and then “smash it” at the back end.

And this week, as part of the Chance to Shine scheme and Cricket Foundation Initiative, which Lowestoft Town CC support, Mpho was visiting selected schools to get cricket into the mainstream sporting sphere.

Lowestoft club captain Peter Sims was pleased to welcome Sekhoto to town, and he said: “The club has nine nominated schools, which are Gunton, Poplars, Northfield St Nicholas, Oulton Broad and St Margaret's Primary Schools and Harris, Lothingland, Elm Tree and Foxborough Middle Schools.

“As a level two coach Mpho will be in the schools for all the summer term, with those youngsters who are interested in cricket invited to come training at the club. Mpho has been really well received thus far and while he is getting used to the surroundings he is a top batsman,” Sims added.

During his spell in Lowestoft, Sekhoto will be motoring along to all of the schools courtesy of sponsorship from the Gary Bennett Driving School.

Mr Bennett kindly supplied the club with a use of one of his driving school vehicles, and he told The Journal: “We are happy to support the club for what will be our third season. We are also proud to be associated with something that is helping the youngsters of the town.”

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