September 21, 1988
Slow left-arm orthodox
An unusual name didn't help him start his career in a different way. A top-order right-handed batsman and a useful left-arm orthodox spinner, Jon-Jon Smuts was barely six when he first put on his batting pads.
Smuts made his First-class debut for Eastern Province in 2007 and then went on to represent the South African team in the 2008 ICC U19 World Cup. He put on a gutsy 58 in the semi-final that helped his team qualify for the finals. He was also a part of the Protean team that won the 2010 Emerging Players Tournament held in Australia. Smuts represented the Warriors team in the Twenty20 arena. Later in 2015, he was named in Eastern Province Team for the African T20 Cup.
The hard-hitting all-rounder had a majestic 2016-17 season with the bat where he ended as one of the leading run-scorers of the South African T20 Cup. His all-round abilities were acknowledged by the selectors and finally, he earned an international call up in 2017. JJ made his T20I debut against Sri Lanka in January 2017 but had a mediocre start to his international career. After receiving a couple of more chances in the following series, Smuts failed to seize the opportunity and was dropped from the side. Even after failing at the international level, the all-rounder continued showcasing his brilliance at the domestic level.
In 2018, Smuts notched up 219 runs from nine matches in the Mzansi Super League and became the leading run-scorer of Nelson Mandela Bay Giants. His impressive performance at the domestic level bagged him another shot at the international level and in August 2019, he was named in South Africa's T20I squad for the series against India.