Batting: Right hand batsman
Bowling: Right arm off-spin
“You get clock-captains or instinctive skippers,” the former Australian vice-captain and TV-commentator Keith Stackpole once said.
Clock captains will employ fast bowlers according to the watch, and replace the operators from each end depending on how much time has elapsed.
Instinctive captains are not swayed by popular opinion or by the pre-match discussion in the dressing room. They will make decisions according to their instincts and judged upon what unfolds on the field.
Justin Ontong is a captain fitting the latter description by Stackpole, and has developed into one of the finest domestic skippers.
An expert judge on when to use a bowler, Ontong was superb as skipper during the Ram Slam T20 Challenge in 2014/2015.
He started the Sunfoil Series in 2014/2015 in sedate fashion, but came into his own at the back-end of the competition, and finished with a sensational 166 against the Sunfoil Dolphins. He averaged 59.87, although, by his own admission, it was not his best season yet.
He looked in good nick in the first half of the Momentum One Day Cup competition of 2015/2016 with a best score of 77, a fine 48 against The Unlimited Titans and an excellent average of 55.25.
The Cape Cobras captain suffered a rare lapse of form in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge as the middle-order struggled to capitalize on flying starts by Wayne Parnell and Richard Levi.
As a player, Ontong probably experienced one of his finest seasons yet in 2013/2014 by scoring 927 runs at a superb average of 71.30.
This vastly experienced middle-order champion has scored 23 tons and averages 41.16 in 166 first-class matches.
Known for his exquisite timing and touch on the off-side, and his belligerent hitting over cow corner, Ontong also featured with the bat in the 1-0 series win for South Africa A against Australia A in 2013, averaging 48.
Ontong has become a more than useful off-spinner, who can also bowl the googly or revert to leg-spin, and has taken 128 first-class wickets.
As a fielder, the Nashua Cape Cobras captain is arguably one of the five best in South African cricket.
His direct hits from point, is one of the hallmarks of his proficiency in the field.
At international level, Ontong has had limited opportunities to ply his trade.
He was first selected for South Africa in a test at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2002, but did not prove an instant success as he managed scores of 9 and 32.
He returned to the squad for the trip to India in November 2004, but he failed to establish himself.
In One Day Internationals, Ontong played 28 matches for South Africa at an average of 13.14. He captured nine wickets.
His unselfish approach to batting in sacrificing his own wicket in pursuit of the team cause arguably contributed to his limited batting success at the highest level.
The national selectors entrusted him with the captaincy in the third and final T20-match against the West Indies at Kingsmead in 2015 and he led the Proteas to victory.
At domestic level, Ontong has become an indispensable part of the Cobras’ all-conquering machine which has yielded ten trophies in seven seasons.