Former South African cricketer stopped on the side of a highway to watch… and coach a game of street-cricket!
KwaZulu Natal, South Africa – Pat Symcox posted a story which the world is sharing because let’s face it; we don’t like cricket, we love it!
Symcox was a right-arm off-spin bowler and was known for his powerful hitting down the order. The former South African cricketer has a Test century to his name, scored against Pakistan. Symcox is also the co-holder of the highest ever ninth-wicket partnership of 195 runs.
Symcox retired in 1998. His son, Russel, like his father, used to play provincial cricket for the Natal Dolphins. His father Rodger also played provincial cricket for Griqualand West and the Symcox family are one of ten families in South Africa to have seen three generations play first-class cricket.
Symcox was recently driving down a highway in KwaZulu Natal when he saw a group of young cricketers playing the game he loves so much.
“So here we are driving down the highway to have supper at Selborne and at the off-ramp on the side of the N2 I see a whole group of young kids playing cricket… we just couldn’t believe it. Nearly 6 pm on a Sunday.”
Symcox turned the car around and went back. There was no parking, so he left the car on the shoulder of the highway and walked over to chat with them and watch a while.
Turns out that almost a year ago, a young man came to see Symcox at his Hibberdene office and asked if he could get help with getting some cricket going in an area called Malangeni. It is in the tribal trust area far from any facilities.
“I made a few calls to the KZN Cricket union Development officer, and he undertook to assist. Other than some kit, etc, and some taxi fare which I gladly sponsored, they just wanted to play the game. Gift, the coach and young guy who is the initiator, seemed damn committed to the cause.”
As it turns out, Gift has been helped by the cricket union with a few old bats and a ball or two and has managed to get his little team into the mix. One of his young cricketers recently played in a festival.
“While watching them and bowling a few balls and doing some coaching; I couldn’t help noticing a little guy in really buggered small pads batting. He played like a champ.”
Gift called Symcox the next day to say that he had heard from the kids that they had stopped there and went on to explain that the little guy, Artie is his name is the one who played for a Festival.
“How cool to see cricket being played on the side of the highway. We all had some fun for almost an hour… and we ended up being late for dinner.”