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Last Updated:  Saturday, 8 March, 2003, 12:31 GMT
'Lightning' will strike no more
By Matt Majendie
BBC Sport

Allan Donald
When the end finally came for Allan Donald, it was hardly the explosive climax he had envisaged to his one-day career.

The 36-year-old had hinted the 2003 World Cup would be his last outing as an international cricketer.

And his official retirement came on Saturday after failing to produce the expected fireworks on home soil.

Donald ended his career in inglorious fashion, managing just one wicket for the loss of 133 runs before being dropped for what proved to be his country's last match in the World Cup.

Critics had increasingly said that "White Lightning" no longer had the class for the biggest stage.

But his ignominious retirement failed to reflect the stunning impact he had made since South Africa returned to the international arena back in 1991.

During his 164 one-day career, he took a total of 272 wickets at an average of 21.78.

Allan Donald's one-day career
Debut: Calcutta, 10/11/91 v India
Wickets: 272
Average: 21.78
Best bowling: 6-23

And few, if any, have come close to matching the intensity and drive of arguably his country's greatest ever bowler.

Twelve months ago, Donald declared his intention to concentrate on one-day cricket in the hope of playing in the 2003 World Cup.

Naturally fit, he extended his career by a devotion to training and his fiercely competitive nature prevented him from declining one last crack at the world's leading batsmen in South Africa.

The major reason for that final shot was to make amends for his embarrassing exit from the 1999 tournament when he was run out in the semi-final to Australia as his side were knocked out.

In the end, his swansong proved fruitless, with Craig McMillan the only player he dismissed.

But from his debut against India in November 1991, he almost single-handedly led his country out of sporting isolation to its current position as a major power in world cricket.
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He burst onto the international stage, taking five wickets in South Africa's first one-day international, against India in Calcutta.

Few cricket fans will forget his glowering like a pantomime villain if a bowler enjoyed even the slightest luck against him.

He was always modest about his achievements, once stating that "the ability to bowl fast was just a natural thing for me".

But off the pitch his performances were equally impressive.

For a leading player in the modern game his values were old school, forged in county cricket with Warwickshire, where he arrived as a raw-boned 21-year-old in 1987.

Donald's leading one-day victims
Ajay Jadeja (Ind - out five times)
Alec Stewart (Eng - 5)
Aravinda de Silva (SrL - 5)
Paul Reiffel (Aus - 5)
Stephen Fleming (Nzl - 5)

Even if he had threatened the life of a particularly lucky batsman during the course of the day, Donald reasoned, there was no reason why he should not share a beer with him afterwards.

Birmingham may have been his adopted home for the South African winter, but it was on home soil in East London where he eventually bowed out of the international game.

After passing the 300-mark for Test wickets, he had wondered whether there would be sufficient motivation to continue.

But his appetite for the biggest battles, against the greatest players, kept him coming back for as long as he could.




SEE ALSO
Donald calls it quits
08 Mar 03 |  South Africa
Time for a tough decision
05 Mar 03 |  South Africa
Where did it all go wrong for SA?
04 Mar 03 |  South Africa


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