Smash hit in Rocky cricket

SOUTH African Kobus Minnie is taking a much more relaxed approach to his cricket these days.

Minnie made his debut for Bluebirds in the last round of the Southern Star Sports Shield first grade cricket competition in Rockhampton.

It is a far cry from his competitive days of provincial cricket in South Africa where he played alongside, and against, players like current South African players Nicky Boje and Boeta Dippenaar.

His early cricket days were also played alongside people like former South African internationals Allan Donald and the late Hansie Cronje.

"Cricket was very strong back then, but I gave it up when I was 22,'' said Minnie, then frustrated with the selection system.

"It was a tough decision.

"I'm a lot more relaxed now and taking cricket in my stride.

"I'm very rusty and I have limited time to practice.''

Those days involved representing the South African Universities team and representing his province.

Before South Africa's return to the international arena in 1991 after 21 years of isolation, provincial cricket matches were regularly a sell-out in South Africa ? the only chance to see the country's best cricketers in action, and today it still attracts international players.

Minnie, now 29, keeps a low profile.

The all-rounder, a middle order batsman and off-spin bowler, arrived in Australia through his work in 2002 and is now on the Dawson Project (mining) in Moura.

His only cricket since arriving in Australia was playing for Maitland, in New South Wales, before he made an appearance during the Rockhampton Cricket Country Carnival last month and quickly found himself a first grade start.

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