South African youngster Lungi Ngidi made his test debut in the 2nd test match against India replacing veteran Dale Steyn and the seamer couldn’t have asked for the better start to his international career. After picking up 1 wicket in the 1st innings, the 21-year-old bowled a match-winning spell in the second innings to finish with the figures of 6/39, earning himself the man of the match award.
Ngidi was nervous going against Virat Kohli
Ngidi recently spoke to a media outlet about his test debut and picking arguably the world’s best batsman, Virat Kohli in his first test match. He said,
“I was nervous on the first day, playing with and against the best players in the world. I couldn’t stop thinking that it was my debut. Perhaps it helped that this was my home ground. Coming up against Virat Kohli, I knew everyone would be watching. A youngster bowling to probably the best batsman in the world, so I had to step up to the challenge.”
Ngidi’s love for the sport started with watching kids play the game in front of his house. His family couldn’t afford the batting equipment at that time and that is where he saw his opportunity to become a fast bowler. He made his first international appearance against Sri Lanka last year in T20 match, before being picked above the likes of Chris Morris for the 2nd test against India.
Speaking about his lethal spell of bowling in the 2nd innings of his 1st test match and the partnership he is hoping to build with the current number 2 test bowler in the world Kagiso Rabada, Ngidi said,
“In the second innings, on Day 4, we knew that Virat’s wicket would put us in a good position. We were working towards that as end of play approached. Then I got his wicket (leg-before-wicket for 5) and the team experienced a lot of energy. The next day, I was talking to Vernon (Philander) and he told me that I had the opportunity to win the game for South Africa. So I was running in hard and managed to pick up a few wickets.”
“As a young cricketer, he (Rabada) has already made a name for himself. We have been friends for a long time and he inspires me to do well. We were rivals in junior and school cricket. We do have an opportunity to be able to put up a deadly partnership like that. It is in our hands to carry on and bowl consistently. We are both 21 and 22 years old, so time is on our side.”
Even though Ngidi has played only a handful of international matches till now, and just 3 T20I, his talent is pretty much visible to anyone who knows a thing or two about cricket. Hence it was surprising to see Chennai Super Kings picking him up at the recently held IPL auction for his base price of INR 50 lakh.
Playing against MS Dhoni a dream come true
The Durban born player is hugely excited to perform in the world’s best cricketing league alongside legends of the game like MS Dhoni, who will be captaining him for the period of 2 months. Speaking about the auction and the opportunity to play with Dhoni, Ngidi said,
“I have been to India before with the South Africa Under-19 team, but the IPL feels like a bigger stage. I will be playing with Dhoni, which is a dream come true for any young cricketer.”
“I knew I had a good T20 domestic series and my first few international T20 games had gone well. I was obviously hoping to be picked up (in the players’ auction) and was nervous about it too. I didn’t watch because we were playing a Test match. After the game, I checked my phone and everybody was congratulating me. I asked “what for” and then I realized I had been picked up by CSK.”
While Ngidi is not part of the South African T20 squad facing India in the ongoing series, the pacer is currently preparing for the upcoming Australian series before finally joining the CSK squad in April.