The world’s greatest fast bowler and the cutting edge behind the success of South Africa at Test level and Warwickshire in the county championship during the mid-nineties, explains his winning mentality in his first-ever autobiography.
Arriving as a shy, introverted twenty year old on the unique stage of English professional cricket from the heartlands of South Africa, Donald’s learning curve with his county Warwickshire was steep. Competition for the one overseas berth, injuries and loss of form meant a tricky baptism for Donald in the county game, before Bob Woolmer arrived at Edgbaston in 1991 to reconstruct his bowling action.
In this book Donald reviews his relationship with key players and backroom staff – including Woolmer, Dennis Amiss, Dermot Reeve and Brian Lara – and contrasts the unique team spirit during Warwickshire’s trophy winning seasons with the later rifts that developed over the selection of Lara as the county’s overseas player.
In the Test arena, South Africa’s return to the international fold in 1992, with Donald to the fore, began tentatively, leading to a fiercely fought series with Australia home and away in 1994, and culminating in the 1998 tour of England, their first since the ban. Donald’s ferocious assault on Mike Atherton at Trent Bridge was one of the most hostile passages of fast bowling ever witnessed, and by the end of the summer South Africa’s leading strike bowler had bagged 33 wickets.
That hotly contested series saw Donald fined and given a suspended twelve-month ban by the ICC for criticisms of the umpiring in the Trent Bridge Test, about which Donald has some hard-hitting opinions.
With his telling insights into the rugged physical and mental approach instilled as part of his Afrikaans cricket upbringing and the touring pressures faced by the modern-day Test cricketer, Donald’s book provides compelling reading. And with forthcoming series against the West Indies and New Zealand, Donald’s goal of joining that exclusive group of bowlers taking 300 Test wickets in a career will surely be fulfilled.