Ngidi fired up for op­po­si­tion

Proteas’ bowler is look­ing for­ward to com­pe­ti­tion

Sunday World - - Sport - / Chris Ricco / Back­pagePix Cricket SA Oc­to­ber 31: Novem­ber 4: Novem­ber 9: Novem­ber 11: Novem­ber 14: Novem­ber 17:

As far as bucket lists go, play­ing Aus­tralia in Aus­tralia is as big as it gets for Proteas fast­bowler, Lungi Ngidi.

The 22-year-old is one of six play­ers in the lim­ited-overs squad mak­ing their de­but tour Down Un­der with the se­ries set to kick off with the first ODI (one-day in­ter­na­tional) at the Op­tus Sta­dium in Perth on Sun­day.

The Proteas have set­tled com­fort­ably in Perth since their ar­rival on Wed­nes­day and have been fo­cused on mak­ing a steady ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion ahead of their tour match against the Prime Min­is­ter’s XI in Can­berra on Wed­nes­day.

Ngidi says the tour is an “ex­cit­ing” next step of his flour­ish­ing in­ter­na­tional ca­reer, and is look­ing for­ward to the oc­ca­sion of play­ing against fierce com­pe­ti­tion in front of bois­ter­ous crowds.

“Clash­ing with Aus­tralia is a good com­pe­ti­tion,” he told a me­dia con­fer­ence at the Proteas’ light prac­tice in Perth yes­ter­day.

“I am ex­pect­ing noth­ing less on this tour. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two teams is one of com­pe­ti­tion.”

He ex­plained fur­ther: “We keep it on the field, that is where it stays. There will al­ways be ag­gres­sion on a cricket field, the fast-bowlers are al­ways go­ing to be com­ing at the bats­men and the bats­men will try to take us [bowlers] down. You have to keep it civil, but very com­pet­i­tive, I feel it is go­ing to be a good chal­lenge in this se­ries.”

Ngidi has an­nounced him­self as a key strike-bowler for the Proteas this sea­son and is South Africa’s lead­ing wick­et­taker in ODIs with 22 wick­ets at a strike-rate of 22 in the 10 matches he has played this year. Along with a fit-again Dale Steyn and a fired-up Kag­iso Rabada, the young­ster is an im­por­tant third cog of an en­tic­ing fast-bowl­ing pack.

He said he can’t wait for an op­por­tu­nity to bowl in Aus­tralian con­di­tions, which he hopes will of­fer good pace and bounce for the at­tack.

“I have seen the wick­ets here are pretty quick, that is go­ing to be ex­cit­ing,” Ngidi said keenly. “The main thing is to as­sess the con­di­tions that you find on the day. I have al­ways been told to never get ahead of my­self, on quick wick­ets you might get too ex­cited and end up bowl­ing short when it is un­nec­es­sary. I will try to keep a level head, al­ways hit com­pet­i­tive lengths and keep my ag­gres­sion.”

The Proteas travel to Can­berra to­mor­row for the match against the Prime Min­is­ter’s XI. –

Proteas tour to Aus­tralia

Prime Min­is­ter’s XI, Manuka Oval, Can­berra (D/N)

1st ODI, Perth (D/N) 2nd ODI, Ade­laide

Oval (D/N)

(D/N)

3rd ODI, Ho­bart

T20 Tour match, Al­lan Border Field, Bris­bane (Day)

T20 In­ter­na­tional, Gold Coast (Night)

South African bowler Lungi Ngidi.

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