Ngidi to take con­trol af­ter Rabada’s sus­pen­sion

The Star Late Edition - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS

COM­PAR­ISONS are in­evitable.

It is a part of our DNA. An in­trin­sic part of our daily lives.

So, when there are two young fast bowlers com­pet­ing on the in­ter­na­tional stage for the Proteas, the scru­tiny will not just be on the way and how they de­liver the ball, but also a mi­cro­scopic dis­sec­tion of their char­ac­ters.

The scru­tiny be­comes even more in­tense when Kag­iso Rabada commits a series of of­fences that led to him be­ing banned for two Test matches on Mon­day, which has ul­ti­mately ruled the 22-year-old out of the on-go­ing series against Aus­tralia pend­ing an ap­peal from Cricket South Africa.

Au­to­mat­i­cally the fo­cus then switches to Lungisani Ndigi, and with it the re­spon­si­bil­ity of not only be­ing a wicket-taker for South Africa but also the chief of Rabada’s de­fence coun­sel.

“Ev­ery­thing hap­pens in the mo­ment. You don’t have any con­trol. You try to con­trol as much as pos­si­ble, but the game means so much to us as play­ers that you can’t re­ally hold your­self back if you ex­cited or happy. He is an ag­gres­sive crick­eter,” Ngidi said of the St Ge­orge’s Park Man of the Match.

Even though Ngidi is still in the in­fancy of his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer, hav­ing de­buted just three Test matches ago at Cen­tu­rion, in com­par­i­son to Rabada’s ex­pe­ri­ence of 28 games, the 21-year-old tear­away from KwaZulu-Na­tal has al­ready dis­played a com­pletely dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­ment on the field.

Ngidi too claimed the big wicket of David Warner in Aus­tralia’s first in­nings here in Port El­iz­a­beth, and al­though there was plenty of emo­tion in his cel­e­bra­tion, it was nowhere close to Rabada’s erup­tion when he dis­missed the Aus­tralian opener in the sec­ond in­nings.

“That’s just the way he plays,” Ngidi said.

“I am a dif­fer­ent type of per­son. It is re­ally is com­pet­i­tive out there and your emo­tions take over.

“He is a great bowler to learn from and get in­for­ma­tion from, but I am start­ing to find my own feet. I can’t say I want to be KG. I am a dif­fer­ent type of per­son, a lot more re­served. I have my own abil­i­ties. I have my own skills. You don’t re­ally have to say much. I think maybe just a look, that’s what I would say is ag­gres­sion. It is the ar­eas you bowl, that’s puts a bats­men un­der pres­sure, your pres­ence on the field, just know­ing you’re there.” FOR­MER In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil match ref­eree Mike Proc­ter joined a grow­ing list of those call­ing for the need for match ref­er­ees to be given a plat­form to ex­plain their de­ci­sions and sanc­tions to a wider au­di­ence.

In the wake of an ex­plo­sive first two Test matches be­tween South Africa and Aus­tralia, which both ended with play­ers in the dock, Proc­ter said he felt for Jeff Crowe, who has been un­der the spot­light as much as, if not even more than, the play­ers.

“It hasn’t been easy for him, and it is a real pity those de­ci­sions have made as many head­lines as the cricket it­self, which has been ter­rific,” the for­mer all-rounder be­moaned.

“I was al­ways a fan of be­ing able to front up to the me­dia, and have the op­por­tu­nity to put these things to rest. The spec­u­la­tion on how you ar­rived at a cer­tain de­ci­sion prob­a­bly adds to the emo­tion around is­sues like this,

Hav­ing been brought into the start­ing XI at the ex­pense of the ex­pe­ri­enced Morne Morkel at St Ge­orge’s Park, Ngidi cer­tainly proved his worth with fig­ures of 3/51 and 2/24 across both Aus­tralian in­nings.

How­ever, Rabada claimed match-fig­ures of 11/150 and proved to be the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two teams, which al­lowed South Africa to level the series head­ing to Cape Town.

Ngidi was cer­tainly in awe of and that can’t have been easy for Jeff.

“Go­ing in front of the me­dia af­ter a match, or once a de­ci­sion has been taken, means there are no grey ar­eas. It is def­i­nitely some­thing worth look­ing at.”

The world’s top-ranked bowler in Test cricket, Kag­iso Rabada, has been sus­pended for the last two matches of the series, af­ter his run-ins with the Aus­tralian cap­tain and vice­cap­tain in the sec­ond Test in Port El­iz­a­beth. Proc­ter said the cur­rent sys­tem of de­merit points, which stay on the record for a pe­riod of two years, is a tough one.

“It is very dif­fi­cult. It is a bit like the driv­ing sys­tem in some coun­tries, where you can rack up a lot of points, and then one park­ing ticket takes you over the edge, and you are banned from driv­ing al­to­gether. Rabada is def­i­nitely pay­ing a big price for some mis­takes he made a while ago.” his team­mate’s con­tri­bu­tion.

“It re­ally was amaz­ing to see, to be out there with him as well. He is a great crick­eter. To pull off a per­for­mance like that, it is good to see. See­ing the way he went about it gave me even more mo­ti­va­tion on the other side. If it’s your day you have to make it count,” the young­ster ex­plained.

The South African se­lec­tors are still in dis­cus­sion about the make-up of the squad for the re­main­ing two Tests at New­lands

Ex­pand­ing on what it means not to have the fast bowler play­ing in the last two matches, Proc­ter said it was a real shame.

“It is a huge loss for the series. Rabada is clearly the best bowler on both sides, and to not have him tak­ing part in the last two games re­ally takes some­thing out of the series,” Proc­ter lamented. “He is a bril­liant young bowler, and I have to agree with what AB de Vil­liers was say­ing. The se­nior play­ers will have to take him in and help him through this, but he also has to look at him­self.

“As a fast bowler, you will al­ways have that fire in the belly. It is what helps you to bowl at the level you need to be the dif­fer­ence. Rabada has to learn to take that fire away from the bats­men, be­cause it is tak­ing away from bril­liant per­for­mances.”

The third Test be­gins in Cape Town on 22 March. – LUN­GANI ZAMA and Wan­der­ers.

It is un­likely that vet­eran fast bowler Dale Steyn will be in­cluded for New­lands due to the 34-year-old hav­ing yet to play a com­pet­i­tive match since Jan­uary, leav­ing Knights seamer Duanne Olivier the fron­trun­ner to join up with the Proteas.

Morkel, of course, is also still part of the squad be­fore he heads off into the sun­set of re­tire­ment at the con­clu­sion of this series. Ngidi is con­fi­dent South Africa have their bases cov­ered, even with­out the bril­liant Rabada.

“We are a pretty well-rounded at­tack. We have good ex­pe­ri­ence in Vern (Phi­lan­der) and Morne, they know how to lead an at­tack. Ob­vi­ously, it will be a mas­sive blow but it does give us the op­por­tu­nity to stand up and fill the gap. We will still be look­ing to come hard at the Aus­tralians, even miss­ing KG. We will still look to at­tack and put them un­der pres­sure,” Ngidi said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.