The wicket at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground at St Lucia has reportedly been prepared to suit fast bowling and‚ according to Proteas paceman Lungi Ngidi‚ will play straight into the hands of the South Africans.
Whether the pitch will help the fast bowlers will only be confirmed on Thursday morning when the Proteas begin their first of two Test matches against the West Indies to be played at the picturesque venue.
West Indies coach Phil Simmons has already said the wicket looks like it will assist the seamers and he believes that will give the home side the best chance of bowling out their visitors in the two innings.
Ngidi‚ though‚ said the Proteas will be at home if the wicket is seamer-friendly.
“I know they pride themselves on fast bowlers. Kemar Roach has been in unbelievable form for them. Jason Holder‚ Shannon Gabriel — I think those are the guys who will spearhead their attack‚” Ngidi said.
Gabriel has been ruled out of the first Test through injury and his place is expected to be taken by uncapped 19-year-old fast bowler Jayden Seales.
“They probably prepared wickets that are going to suit those guys. But you know, when you have Anrich Nortjé running in at 150km/h and Kagiso Rabada at 145 and at times into the 150s as well‚ and if they make it seam around‚ then it plays perfectly into our hands.
“I think our batsmen are pretty much used to conditions that seam around from places like SuperSport Park and the Wanderers,” Ngidi said.
Ngidi‚ as with almost everyone in the touring party‚ is in the Caribbean for the first time with the Proteas. He admitted that while they have been warmly welcomed‚ the weather has kept the team guessing.
He said the humidity and heat have been tricky for the team, but the conditions were not unlike those in his home city, Durban.
“That’s probably the trickiest thing. It is similar to Durban a little with the humidity and the heat, but it is also very windy‚ so that also comes into play.
“We are trying to negotiate how are we going to deal with that during the Test match and so far so good‚ no complaints.”
The Proteas have not played their best Test cricket in the past two years and have since plummeted to an embarrassing seventh place in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.
Ngidi believes the mixture of experience and youth for this tour gives the team a fine balance.
“Our team has got to take shape and I am very happy with that. From what I have seen, having been in and out of the Test side‚ the team is starting to take shape‚” he said.
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