Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa pace bowler Lungi Ngidi is eager to have a long cricketing career after bursting onto the scene and making his presence felt.
Ngidi has currently represented South Africa in three Tests, four ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals, and has taken 18, eight and six wickets respectively.
His performances for South Africa had such an impact that he was bought by the Chennai Super Kings at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in January.
The 22-year-old made his IPL debut against the Delhi Daredevils on April 30 and finished with figures of 1-26 off his four overs.
“I’ve still got years ahead of me,” he told the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) website. “The first thing that I’d like to do is make sure my career’s very long. At the moment, I just want to keep the ball rolling. I’ve got some good momentum behind me.
“Just having come on to the international scene as well, I’m still very energetic, very excited about everything that happens. I’m just looking to utilise that as best as I can. I’m very excited about what’s happening and, as a cricketer, that’s all I can really do, look forward to every opportunity I get and perform as best as I can.”
Reminiscing about bowling in the past, Ngidi revealed that no one wanted to face him in the nets.
“Whenever I rocked up to practice, and we have to bowl in the nets, no one wanted to come to the nets when I was bowling,” he said. “At the time, it didn’t click for me, but I started realising that I bowl a lot quicker than the other kids. So it just got very uncomfortable for them.
“I started practising with the first team then as well. And I realised that these guys are a lot older than me but I’m still bowling a lot quicker than them. The guys are a lot bigger than me as well. And I started seeing it when I started playing first-team cricket – I easily bowled 10 overs for about 20 runs but not taking any wickets; no one’s hitting the ball!
“So I was always the one who didn’t take wickets but the partner I was bowling with, he used to clean up all the time. So it started clicking that ‘oh, you know, the guys don’t want to face me but they want to challenge the other guy and then they get wickets’. It clicked in about Grade 9, and ever since, just tried bowling faster and faster.”
The Durban native made his Test debut against India in January and put on a show as he took seven wickets in total, six of which came in the second innings and led to the Proteas winning the match and series as well.
“You wouldn’t expect something like that to happen on your debut,” Ngidi said. “First of all, you’re just trying to get through the day. But to be able to perform like that, it helped me realise what I am capable of doing if I put my mind to it. I couldn’t have asked for a better debut and I look back on it now and I still think it’s a dream. I’m still struggling to let it sink in.”