Ti­tanic ef­fort sees Ngidi make his mark

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS

Re­mem­ber the name …

Se­lec­tion is of­ten a thank­less job, but na­tional con­venor of se­lec­tors Linda Zondi and his panel cer­tainly need to be ap­plauded for their fore­sight in award­ing 20-year-old Ti­tans’ fast bowler Lungi Ngidi a taste of in­ter­na­tional ac­tion dur­ing this T20 se­ries against Sri Lanka. It would have been easy to fall back on the ex­pe­ri­ence of a fit-again Chris Mor­ris for this three-match se­ries af­ter a num­ber of se­nior bowlers were rested, but Zondi and Co. opted for the young tear­away de­spite it only be­ing his first full sea­son of do­mes­tic cricket. Ngidi has cer­tainly been a rev­e­la­tion af­ter putting in two su­perb per­for­mances at Su­perS­port Park and The Wanderers. Not only has the for­mer Hil­ton Col­lege old boy bowled with good pace – his av­er­age speeds were up around 140km/h – but he also showed good skill and com­po­sure in an ex­cit­ing spell at a packed Bull­ring. An ex­cit­ing fu­ture looms for the Tukkies in­dus­trial so­ci­ol­ogy and labour stud­ies third-year stu­dent if he re­mains fit and on the park. The prospect of see­ing him bowl in tan­dem with Kag­iso Rabada is a tan­ta­lis­ing one.

Keep on go­ing Immy

De­spite be­ing pre­ciously close to his 38th birth­day and be­ing guilty of wear­ing a hideously ugly hair band, Im­ran Tahir re­mains South Africa’s pre­mier lim­ited-over spin­ner. There were fears that all those years of trav­el­ling around the world, ply­ing his trade for myr­iad do­mes­tic/fran­chise teams, that those spin­ning fin­gers may have been worn out af­ter Tahir was par­tic­u­larly dis­ap­point­ing for the Dol­phins in the lo­cal T20 Chal­lenge. How­ever, Tahir trans­forms into a dif­fer­ent beast when he pulls on that Proteas jumper with the pas­sion of play­ing for his adopted coun­try ob­vi­ously fu­elling some­thing spe­cial in­side of him. On the back of these two dis­plays, Tahir cer­tainly seems in­tent to push on for at least an­other sea­son, giv­ing South Africa a bit more time to get Tabraiz Shamsi ready for when the charis­matic leg-spin­ner even­tu­ally does call time on his won­der­fully colour­ful ca­reer.

One man’s poi­son

Rus­sell Domingo and Rilee Ros­souw may have kissed and made-up with the Proteas coach say­ing “he’s a good kid” just a week af­ter be­rat­ing the left-han­der in pub­lic af­ter Ros­souw signed a Kol­pak deal, but that doesn’t mean South African cricket is not go­ing to miss the 27-year-old. Ros­souw would have been the main­stay of the Proteas’ bat­ting line-up dur­ing this T20 se­ries and in spite of the se­ries be­ing level at 1-1, the Proteas have missed the dy­namism he adds to the top or­der. Jon-Jon Smuts, Heino Kuhn and Man­gal­iso Mosehle have yet to fire as they all bid to re­place Ros­souw in the na­tional lim­ite­dovers squads mov­ing for­ward. It would have been pleas­ant to see some­one such as Cape Co­bras stal­wart Dane Vi­las be­ing handed an op­por­tu­nity at the top of the or­der, but un­for­tu­nately he’s not in the squad so Ros­souw’s for­mer Knights bat­ting part­ner Reeza Hen­dricks may need to be given an­other shot in the game at New­lands. Hen­dricks and Ros­souw both made their T20 in­ter­na­tional de­buts against Aus­tralia at the Ade­laide Oval in 2014. It was a con­trast­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the long-time friends with Ros­souw strik­ing an un­beaten 78 off only 50 balls (7x4, 3x6), while in con­trast, Hen­dricks sur­vived just three balls for a duck. With Ros­souw no longer in the na­tional frame, the time is ripe for the highly-tal­ented Hen­dricks to be­gin re­build­ing his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer.

Bums on seats

Ad­min­is­tra­tors and spon­sors are rou­tinely wor­ried when se­lec­tors rest the “big-name” play­ers as they fear crowd at­ten­dances may be af­fected. Thus far, the Highveld spec­ta­tors at both Su­perS­port Park, which was sold out, and the more than 20 000 fans at the Wanderers on Sun­day showed that they are as ea­ger to see the young and fresh tal­ent com­ing through South African cricket as they are the likes of Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Kag­iso Rabada. Ob­vi­ously, the for­mat be­ing T20 has as­sisted in the num­bers com­ing through the gates, but the suits at Cricket South Africa will be ec­static with the at­ten­dances thus far es­pe­cially af­ter the poor turnout dur­ing the Test se­ries in Port El­iz­a­beth and Jo­han­nes­burg.

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