Neil Douglas McKenzie was born on 24th November 1975 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The former international player is a right-handed middle-order batsman. McKenzie started as an opening batsman but later on shifted to coming to bat at number 4, only to resume his opening role in 2008.
He had an inconsistent run with the national team, having played 58 test matches and 64 ODIs and two T20s.
Born to cricketer Kevin McKenzie, Neil was interested in cricket from a young age. The Protean was a promising youth cricketer and captained his school side and South Africa in the U-19 Tour of England.
Neil made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe on 2nd February 2000 at Kingsmead, Durban. Later in the same year, he was called up for Tests during South Africa’s tour to Sri Lanka. On 20th July 2000, he played his first Test at the Galle International Stadium.
Rise to Glory
In 2008, after a poor run of form of opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs, McKenzie was called up to the national team after a three years hiatus and it was then that he had some of the best knocks of his career.
On 1st March 2008, McKenzie scored his first test hundred when he was involved in a world record opening stand of 415 with captain Graeme Smith against Bangladesh in the second and the final Test.
Having scored 226 in the previous match against Bangladesh, he scored a 155 not out against India in the next test match.
In July 2008, Mckenzie batted for over nine hours, scored 138 runs in 447 balls and helped his team secure a win against England at the Lord’s.
Neil McKenzie had not been consistent with his form since the beginning, with his superstitions off the pitch-owing to his OCD-hindering his play over the years. With South Africa opting to invest in young players after the test series, McKenzie was subsequently dropped from the squad.
McKenzie joined Hampshire in 2010 as a Kolpak player. A year later, he went on to add 523 runs with Michael Carberry against Yorkshire to set up a new record in the history of County Championship. It was also the highest partnership for Hampshire. McKenzie had scored his career-best First-Class score of 237 in that innings.
In 2008, Neil McKenzie was named one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year for his performance against England in the test.
McKenzie also became one of twelve cricketers to score more than 1000 runs in the calendar year of 2008.
Neil McKenzie retired from all forms of cricket in 2016. He was then appointed as the head coach for South African national team.