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Thursday, January 14, 1999 Published at 16:59 GMT

Sport: Cricket

Fast bowler Ntini charged with rape

Ntini worked his way from the townships to the national team

Fast bowler Makhaya Ntini has been named as the South African cricketer who is to be charged with raping a 21-year-old student.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at Buffalo Park cricket ground in the Eastern Province town of East London on December 1.

Buffalo Park is the home of Ntini's own team, Border.

The news of the charge broke on Wednesday, but Ntini was not named until reports in the local press revealed his identity.

Senior prosecutor Les Roberts announced in a statement that he had deliberated for a month over whether to prosecute the player following a police investigation into the alleged incident.

Police said they had issued a warrant for Ntini's arrest.

Ntini originates from the township of Mdingi and was spotted by Border development programme staff when they held a mini-cricket clinic in the area in 1993.

He made his first-class debut for the team against England in their 1995-96 tour.

His big break came when he was selected to represent South Africa on their tour of England last summer, but a loss of form has seen him dropped by the national team for the West Indies series.

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