Toti cricketer, Michael Russell was elated to be informed he had not only been selected for the KZN U11 Dolphins team, but will also captain the squad.
He was the only Durban South player to be considered, a testament to this young player’s impressive ability.
“I was absolutely ecstatic to find out. It was the best news I have ever received. It was even better to find out I had been selected as captain,” said the humble Amanzimtoti Primary School pupil.
Michael first became interested in cricket at the age of four or five-years-old when he overheard an LBW (leg before wicket) appeal while his father was watching an international match on TV. “When I asked him what was happening, he started explaining the rules to me. I then started playing when I was about six or seven-years-old.”
Michael was born in Johannesburg, but moved to Toti at the end of 2013.
He was thrust into the spotlight immediately after his selection, when he captained his team in an inter-provincial tournament in Secunda from Thursday, 10 December. “I’ve had two or three months of practising with the team. I feel confident we will do well at the tournament, as we have some decent players in the team.”
He considers himself a bowling all-rounder, as he opens the team’s pace attack, but rates himself as an adequate batsman who often comes in at six or seven to help post a decent total or chase down a target.
This season he has scored centuries against Glenwood and St Henry’s.
“I think I have very good leadership skills and can lift the team when it is needed. The hardest part about being captain is that when things are not going well, you have to lift everyone up and get them on the same page.” Michael captains his school’s team. This season they only lost two matches, but last season were undefeated.
He is a prolific sportsman and leader, captaining the school’s rugby and hockey teams, and was awarded the junior victor ludorum in swimming this year.
He was also finished up grade 5 first in his class.
He is coached in cricket by the school’s coach Martin Prinsloo, and does extra coaching with Kalvin Venter, who concentrates on his mental game and captaining skills, as well as his batting and bowling disciplines.
“My goal is to play for the Proteas one day and captain them if I can,” said Michael.