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Last Updated: Monday, 18 August, 2003, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
Schoolgirl hooked on cricket
By Scott Heinrich
BBC Sport at Chelmsford

Johmari Logtenberg
Logtenberg has taken to senior cricket like a duck to water

Johmari Logtenberg isn't your average teenager.

Not every 14-year-old gets to take a month off from school mid-term - but then again not every 14-year-old plays Test cricket.

Logtenberg became the youngest Test debutant of all time last week when, 199 days shy of her 15th birthday, South Africa picked her for the first Test against England.

The occasion should have been enough to make a young girl cower in awe, but Logtenberg isn't cut from ordinary cloth.

Coming in at number five with her side struggling on 57-3, Logtenberg showed maturity beyond her years to fire a 235-ball 74 which helped to ultimately deny England victory.

"I didn't know what to expect or how competitive it would be," Logtenberg told the BBC Sport Website.

"I found it very challenging and just went out there and played every ball on its merit.

"It went off great for me and I hope I can keep it up for the rest of tour."

Johmari Logtenberg
I want to make cricket my life
Johmari Logtenberg

South Africa's coach Raymond Booi, who identified a 12-year-old Makhaya Ntini as a future Test cricketer, calls Logtenberg an "unbelievable talent".

"I'm telling you, when I first saw her play I had no idea how young she was," he said.

"I could see she was a fine player and kept watching her, and she just hit the ball so sweetly.

"She plays very straight and almost exclusively through the V - she has a brilliant technique."

And that's just her batting. Fans of South African cricket will be pleased to know Logtenberg considers herself an all-rounder.

It was from an instant attraction to all things cricket as a toddler in Pretoria that made her want to pick up bat and ball with equal gusto.

South Africa leave the field in the day-nighter at Chelmsford
Logtenberg made her one-day debut against England at Chelmsford

"I always watched cricket on television when I was growing up and every Sunday my Father would play cricket with me just to stop me nagging him," she confessed.

"I don't have any brothers - just one sister who isn't really interested in sport - so he had no choice."

When the chance to play for her school presented itself, Logtenberg jumped at it.

"My school had a mini-cricket side and I played with the boys for three years.

"Then my family moved and I started playing in another boys' team in my new town on the coast.

"One match last year, a local newspaper did a story on one of our games and published a photo of me playing with the boys.

"It happened that the town's senior women's coach saw the article, contacted my father and told him I must come and practice with them.

"So I started practicing with the team, got selected and played in a tournament against other women's teams.

"I played in the tournament again this year and it was then that I got chosen to play for South Africa."

Logtenberg has not looked back, and at just 14 it seems she has already met her destiny.

"I know that school is important, but if I can I want to make cricket my life because I enjoy it so much.

"Cricket teaches you different things that you can carry over into your life, things like patience and self-control.

"Once you are bitten by the cricket bug, you are hooked forever."

Links to more Eng v SA Women stories



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