Titanic effort sees Ngidi make his mark
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.