White lightning strikes Canterbury

Allan Donald castles one of his opponents

One of the greatest bowlers of the late 20th century has joined the staff of Kent County Cricket Club – and he’s already having an impact.

South African Allan Donald is Kent’s assistant coach as the club prepares to start the 2018¬†Specsavers County Championship Division 2 season.

But the imposing 51-year-old quick, nicknamed White Lightning, will always be remembered for the terrifying speed and bounce he got out of the ball, especially on the hard South African wickets.

Kent coach Matt Walker says Donald has already been imparting his wisdom on the club’s young players.

Donald was born in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State in 1966 and began playing professionally in 1985 at a time when South Africa was still banned from international cricket due to Apartheid.

From an Afrikaner community, Donald spoke virtually no English when he arrived to play for Warwickshire in 1987.

After readmission to world cricket, he was part of the South African team which reached the semi-finals of the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The Proteas lost to England due to a bizarre rain rule which deprived them of two overs after a brief shower.

He will always be best known for his part in the Battle of Johannesburg when he and England captain Michael Atherton faced each other at the Wanderers stadium in what was one of the most intense passages of Test cricket ever played.

Atherton, helped by wicket-keeper Jack Russell resisted the South African bombardment and England drew the game.

Donald later said: “Atherton is a mentally resilient guy. If he digs in, he’s going grind you down.

“He always put such a high price on his wicket and he was always willing to stick out – it doesn’t matter what you threw at him.

Atherton said: “You really had to be on your mettle against Donald.”

Donald finished his career with 330 wickets from 72 Tests.


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