PROTEAS VERSUS INDIA
Mentor elated at Lungi Ngidi’s possible Test debut
Former Titans and Dolphins all-rounder Pierre de Bruyn‚ who recruited Lungi Ngidi from Hilton College to Tuks Cricket Club five years ago‚ hopes to keep his emotions in check if the fast bowler makes his debut in the second Test against India at SuperSport Park on Saturday.
The 21-year-old Ngidi‚ who played three T20s for SA in 2017 against Sri Lanka‚ was called up to the Proteas squad by coach Ottis Gibson this week.
De Bruyn said if Ngidi is picked as a replacement for Dale Steyn‚ he will be happier than the Titans player.
"If he plays in his first Test match on Saturday‚ I will definitely be the happiest man inside the stadium and probably a little bit emotional‚" De Bruyn said.
He is very quick‚ he has done well for himself and I hope he gets his opportunity in the Test side‚Mandla Mashimbyi
"I am abundantly happy for what he has achieved in a short period of time and I believe he has a lot to offer because he is a special talent."
De Bruyn said he found out about Ngidi from former Zimbabwe all-rounder Neil Johnson, who was working at Hilton College where the Titans bowler was on a scholarship.
"I made a lot of effort to convince him to move out of the province because he was not willing to leave KwaZulu-Natal.
"I went back to Durban a month later‚ sat him down again and asked him to trust me. I told him he would continue to study at the University of Pretoria and all his cricketing needs would be taken care of.
"Ultimately, he agreed to come to Pretoria and … the rest is history‚" said De Bruyn.
"When I first saw video footage of him in action‚ my immediate reaction was that there was potential but his action was raw.
"However‚ I was convinced we could work on his action because he had lots of potential to generate pace."
Ngidi’s former coach at Hilton College‚ Sean Carlisle‚ said he was not surprised by his rapid rise.
"He came to us at the beginning of Grade8 on a scholarship and he stayed with us until he finished matric‚" said Carlisle. "He was a good kid to work with and we are very proud of what he has gone on to achieve."
Mandla Mashimbyi, the Titans assistant coach‚ who also worked with Ngidi at SA under-19 level‚ said the youngster had always shown maturity beyond his age.
"When the under-19s won the World Cup in 2014‚ he missed that tournament due to injury and he also missed out on a possible T20 World Cup in England last year after he got injured against Sri Lanka.
"He is very quick‚ he has done well for himself and I hope he gets his opportunity in the Test side‚" said Mashimbyi.
The world’s top Test bowler, Kagiso Rabada, says it is his ambition to open the bowling for SA, but it is likely he will have to wait for his chance ahead of the second Test against India.
Rabada’s thrilling display of fast bowling helped SA to a 72-run victory in the first Test at Newlands and catapulted the young firebrand to the summit of the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings.
He managed to dislodge England’s Jimmy Anderson, a man 13 years his senior, with match figures of 5/75 that tell only half the story of a display brimming with pace, aggression and control. "Our bowling attack is very skilled, as we have seen in the past and in the last game. It feels great to be playing alongside these veterans," Rabada said.
"I just bowl wherever the team wants me to bowl, but obviously, I would like to open.
"It is very tough at the moment, though, because there are two very good bowlers doing that," he said.
Since the start of 2016, he has taken 108 Test wickets at an average of 21.34 and has a career strike rate of 39.2 that is better than those of veterans Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morné Morkel.
TimesLIVE, additional reporting by Reuters