Business student’s cricketing shares rise as he finds consistency

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Nkosi-Nathi Heshula is starting to put together the kind of scores Border selectors will find difficult to ignore. Photo: Gallo Images


Top-order young gun Nkosi-Nathi Heshula is already starting to find the kind of consistency he believes can turn heads in the higher echelons of Border cricket.

In the first two games of the second half of the premier league season the University of Fort Hare batsman notched up a fine half-century and stylish 23 to help his side over the line.

The lanky strokeplayer played a starring role for his team at the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament in December and is clearly carrying on from where he had left off in Cape Town.

The former Hudson Park first-team captain, now in his second year at UFH, is primed to take his performance to the next level.

“If I can constantly put up the numbers, maybe convert my scores a bit more, I’m bound to catch the [provincial] coaches’ eye,” he said.

“My aim is to play provincially, maybe Iinyathi or Colts. If I can keep my consistency, I could possibly be invited to a training session.”

The Bachelor of Commerce student fell in love with the game as a primary school learner at Kingswood College in Makhanda. Interestingly, it was fielding that drew him in.

“I’ve always been energetic, running around and chasing things. I had a love for fielding. It was just the concept of hitting a ball and catching it,” he said.

Initially, he didn’t look up to anyone in particular, but later favourites like Proteas Hashim Amla, Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock began to emerge.

Heshula started his cricketing life as a bowler but as time went on his talent with the willow was increasingly being recognised. His arrival at Fort Hare has also seen him take on the team’s wicketkeeping duties.

Playing in the Border Premier League, he said, was a big step up from schoolboy cricket but a challenge he relished.

“Skillset-wise, you are exposed to people who play franchise cricket. You can’t get away with mistakes as much as you can at school level.

“You do have to adjust your attitude and remind yourself that this is now the ‘big cricket world’.”

At the same time, he always tries to be composed at the crease.

Since league players know one another’s game well, he understands what to look out for from certain bowlers. In instances where he may not have faced an opponent before, he simply plays each ball on its merit.

“I try to keep my mind clear as much as possible,” he said.

Despite batsmanship undergoing a revolution and switch-hits, reverse-sweeps and ramp shots becoming the norm, Heshula is still a big one for getting the basics right.

He said while international cricketers brought out extravagant shots, the “fundamentals” lay at the heart of them all.

 Heshula has made no secret of his desire to lead Fort Hare in the future, believing he would be up to the task if given the opportunity.

At the USSAs, current skipper Wanga Mgculo remarked on his positive approach and how it rubbed off on his teammates.

“It’s all about uplifting the team as much as possible,” Heshula, who is comfortable batting in any slot from opener to number five, said.

“As soon as you lose your head in cricket, that’s when you lose your whole game.”

 Thankfully for Fort Hare, that is not part of the young business student’s plan.