The mainstay of any team

Warriors superstar Colin Ingram has gone through his cricketing career being that player teammates can depend on for runs, a banker of sorts.

Although he would not say it out loud, for a large part of his time as a cricketer, Ingram would secretly accept that if he did not pitch on the day, some of his teams might battle.

During his time as a schoolboy at Woodridge College, and until Riki Wessels arrived from Grey High, he was the one who had to make all the runs or else they could be under pressure.

At the Warriors, and with very few big names around him after 2010, Ingram and one or two others had to be in the thick of things to keep the ship from foundering. And more recently, in Cardiff, the left-handed bruiser has been hailed as the saviour of Glamorgan cricket and labelled as one of their best-ever cricketers.

High praise indeed when one considers G l a m o rg a n ’s list of overseas players have included Viv Richards, Matthew Elliott,Waqar Younis, Majid Khan, Javed Miandad, Jacques Kallis and Ravi Shastri. But he has impressed at Glamorgan to such an extent that he has been affectionately nicknamed “Kingram” and it comes as no surprise they have him signed on for another two years.

At 32, Ingram believes he still has plenty of cricket left in him. He did, however, call stumps on his red-ball career this week but when one looks at his performances with the white ball for the past two seasons, you can understand why the Adelaide Strikers have now also roped him in for Australia’s Big Bash.

[caption id="attachment_229023" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Colin Ingram has been nicknamed ‘Kingram’ for his exploits at Glamorgan
Picture: Twitter[/caption]

The highlight is this past county season, among a series of six-laden innings, was his incredible 46-ball century in the NatWest T20 Blast against Sussex. It was the fastest-ever hundred in any format of cricket for the Welsh county.

He scored consecutive hundreds in List A matches, making 115 against Hampshire and then 114 against Kent, with both innings helping to set up victories for his team.

In total he chalked up 1 026 runs in one-day games during 2017 to become only the fourth batsman in the club’s history, after Steve James, Jacques Rudolph and Matthew Maynard to reach the landmark of 1 000 runs in a season in one-day games.

By the end of the summer, he had taken his total of centuries in one-day cricket for Glamorgan to 10, with only Maynard with 16 and Hugh Morris with 13 having scored more.

He smashed 59 sixes in white-ball cricket, plus a further five in first-class games.

No Glamorgan batsman, including West Indian Richards, had ever scored so many sixes in one-day matches during a season for the county side.

Reflecting on his UK season this week before last night’s start of the Ram Slam T20, Ingram, son of Eastern Cape protea farmer Clive, was his ever- modest self.

“It’s always nice when it goes well. “I was fortunate that I got into some good form out there and I really tried to take advantage of it. “I thoroughly enjoyed the season. “I was fit and it was the first time I played a full season in a while,” Ingram, who played 40 white-ball matches for South Africa until 2013, said.

“I think I learnt a lot this past winter in the UK and sort of building on the season I had there before. It was nice to go back and double it up two seasons in a row.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of performing for the Warriors this season. Because it is different and under different conditions.” Ingram took some time out after the county season to reboot for the Warriors’ white-ball campaigns. “

I had a small side-strain . . . probably from swinging too hard,” he smiled.

“It’s normally a bowler’s injury, but I got it from batting. It’s been a great time to top up on some fitness and do some extra rehab and make sure that I’m really strong coming into this competition.

“It’s a nice stage to get out there and try to win games for the Warriors. “Jon-Jon Smuts touched on the good things happening here at theWarriors in the last couple of seasons. To make two finals last year . . . obviously disappointing we didn’t win them . . . but to make the finals is proof that what we doing is working. We have a committed bunch of guys who probably train harder than any other team I’ve played in.

“For me it’s just about getting out there again trying to win games.” While Ingram is riding the crest of the wave at the moment, it was not always that easy and there was a dark time when he pondered over his future in cricket. After playing for EP and SA Schools he was given a Warriors rookie contract for two seasons. He struggled to break through and was then told by the Warriors they could not offer him an extension.

“That was probably the worst time for me . . . after my two years as a rookie when I was released. It was a tough time. I went back to my studies and I didn’t think I’d have a career at that stage to be honest,” Ingram admitted.

But some time playing cricket for Free State and two superb seasons at Spondon Cricket Club in the Derbyshire Premier League, where he scored 2 401 runs at an average of 57.17 to help them win the title for the first time in 20 years, helped get his career back on track.

And from the moment he rejoined the Warriors there was no looking back. Now, he has endless lucrative opportunities on the horizon in T20 leagues all over the globe.

“Coming off three good years in the UK has put me back on the international stage in that respect. To be able to take up those opportunities is something I haven’t done before.

I’m going to the Big Bash, but there are other tournaments like the Caribbean Premier League, the Pakistan Super League and others I could get involved in.” But, for now, “Kingram”, “Bozie” or “Farmer ” only has eyes for the Warriors and securing a much-sought-after domestic trophy.