The Central Gauteng Lions did their bit for Mandela Day this week by packing boxes of food and hygiene products to be distributed by humanitarian aid organisations. A chain of players then relayed them from the field to the stands by throwing the boxes to each other.
At the start of this chain was Lutho Sipmala, showing the sort of slick, consistent delivery that is demanded of Springbok scrumhalves.
Consistency is also what the 24-year-old paceman brings to his bowling; in his three Test appearances so far he has taken 11 wickets at an average of just 22.27. But he has also impressed with his ability to bowl regularly in a channel, which Sipamla believes is going to be important in the upcoming Test series against England, who have revitalised their fortunes with an aggressive approach to batting.
“Watching their past few games, whoever the bowlers, England have really come after them,” Sipamla said.
“Their brand of cricket has been a lot more attacking, so line-and-length is going to be really important and controlling your channel for as long as possible. It’s going to be about patience and sticking to simple plans.
“I think if we can do that, with our attack, then we can come out on top. Either way, I know I would have really learnt a lot by the end of the tour.”
Given his inexperience at international level, there is little doubt England’s aggressive batters will target Sipamla, but the Port Elizabeth product says he is happy to carry the fight to the hosts if they do go after him.
“If the batsmen do show a lot of intent, then you have your zone as a bowler, and if the batsman makes a mistake then he gets out; that’s my game-plan,” Sipamla said.
“I like the challenge of it being you against the batsman, that contest in the moment, I want to own and win the battle.”
ALSO READ: Sipamla credits coaches for Proteas progress
The other thing Sipamla wants is to enjoy a proper cricket tour to one of the great homes of the game.
“Grey High School went on a tour of England in 2016, my matric year, but this will be my first proper international experience and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
“Just to see England and explore it and the touring side of life, I’m just going to enjoy it because it’s going to be great to be back. There’s a lot to do in England.
“And the Tests are at such historic grounds (Lord’s, Old Trafford and the Oval) and to be at Lord’s is going to be unbelievable. I know our pace attack and what they have in the bag, and what better place to show it.”