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Ken Borland

Player of the Year award & sympathy for Siboto for carrying the CGL attack

Posted on July 04, 2022 by Ken

The Central Gauteng Lions endured a tough 2021/22 season with Proteas and SA A call-ups decimating their line-up, and one could only feel sympathy for Malusi Siboto, their stalwart seam bowler who had to carry the attack when so many bowlers were missing.

Across the four-day competition, the triumphant 50-over One-Day Cup campaign and the two T20 tournaments, the Lions played 24 matches last season and Siboto played in every one of them. He bowled the most overs in the four-day tournament, 151.4, and took 24 wickets at an average of just 14, spearheading a challenge for the title that only faltered in the final round.

The 34-year-old Siboto was also their leading T20 wicket-taker, while conceding runs at just 7.39 per over. So it was a fitting act of appreciation when he was crowned as the CGL Player of the Year at the weekend.

For his part, Siboto admitted that he was “very tired” but he said the responsibility of being a senior player had carried him through.

“For me, the big key was that element of making sure the younger players were ready. As a senior player, you have to step up and make sure the others follow you and that you play as a team.

“The stats are not important for me and I didn’t feel more pressure out on the field. It was more about mindset, being aware of the smaller things, those situations that can be game-changing.

“Whatever happens, you have to trust all the players to execute. So I didn’t feel there was any pressure on me to perform, it was more about making sure all the players are on the same page.

“At times it seems like you’re bowling for someone else. And then you just have to make sure they’re aware, someone like Codi Yusuf had Sisanda Magala and I always in his ear,” Siboto told The Citizen.

Siboto has now played 244 matches across the formats in domestic first division cricket. He moved from the Knights to the Titans in 2016/17 and then to the Lions in 2018/19. He has never failed to be a consistent, skilful performer at that level, certainly one of the most effective bowlers in the local game.

Although his only taste of international cricket came with eight matches for SA A between 2016 and 2019, he is not going to give up on his dream of playing for the Proteas.

“I am ready to play for the Proteas, I’ve been bringing it year-in, year-out and my SA A games were a long time ago. I am fit and working hard and always growing. I’m learning something new every season.

“Next season again, I will just try to be consistent, do the basics right, that’s all I can control.

“At the Titans, there was an element of there being no comfort zone, we were all working hard to win trophies and build a legacy.

“At the Lions, it’s a different ball-game because half the team is so young and new. So it’s a matter of also making sure those younger guys flourish,” Siboto said.

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