A simple question brings a gleaming smile. How special is it to be back?

“I can remember the day when Mr David Brown walked into our changing room in Port Elizabeth and asked me straight up whether I’d be keen to come to Edgbaston,” recalls Allan Donald. “I knew nothing about Edgbaston, but I never hesitated for second.

“I couldn’t speak a word of English, but I was ecstatic to wear the Bear on my chest and even more so when Andy Lloyd gave me my First Team Cap.”

Donald was immediately put into reflective mode. A current member of the Bangladesh national team coaching set-up, Donald was visiting England and specifically his former county, meeting up with old friends, and taking in the action at a much-changed Edgbaston.

“I think from day one the bond between the Club, the friends I’ve established over the year, it’s been unbelievable. That’s why I love coming back here. What the Club has done for me and the successes we’ve had together as a group in the mid-90s was just fantastic.

“I follow the Club religiously and I could never stop following the Club. To be back here, seeing this great big stand, it’s an awesome place. This is my second home.”

Edgbaston is clearly a place that’s near his heart. As a Bear, Donald, who took 536 first-class wickets at 20.82 apiece and 245 wickets at 19.21 in limited-overs cricket between 1987 and 2000.

One of the finest fast bowlers in cricket history, Donald underpinned South Africa’s bowling attack for years, but attributes his achievements to his experiences in Birmingham.

“This was the best learning ground for me,” added Donald. “There’s no question that having spent six years first, and having South Africa in isolation, this was the best training ground to learn my cricket against the best overseas that I can only dream about after watching them on TV.

“So when South Africa got back into international cricket in 1992 I wasn’t scared of the environment and the preparation for me was done here and I’m grateful for that.”

2024 Membership: Together, we are Bears

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