Lungi Ngidi is trying to ignore talk of transformation targets and is concentrating on earning his place at the top on merit.
The 20-year-old, who came into the spotlight at last year’s Africa T20 Cup, believes that moving up the ranks will come with good performances and consistency. The Titans speedster, chatting exclusively to SACricketmag.com, says that he will not allow the negative opinions on the matter to deter him from earning a spot in top-flight cricket.
‘I know it’s there to better cricket in South Africa. It’s a new process but I try not to think about it. When colour is brought in to determine selection many people can get upset. People need to realise that it’s been implemented to help people showcase their talent. I support the transformation targets and I hope it brings out the best in South African cricket.’
His role model, though, is Kagiso Rabada.
‘I look up to Kagiso. How he has burst on to the scene at his age and progressed is a true inspiration. I admire the maturity he’s shown and would like to perform in a similar fashion … but as Lungi Ngidi.’
The former SA U19 quick continues to make progress. He again made an impact in the recent Africa Cup where, in the final game against SWD, he took 2-16, displaying his ability to strike whilst keeping runs to a minimum. At the recent campus cricket tournament in Sri Lanka, he took seven wickets at an average of 13.43 and an economy rate of 5.88 for Tuks, again impressing the Northerns selectors.
‘It was a new experience but a good experience,’ he said. ‘The conditions were different to most of the subcontinent countries I’ve played in and playing in Sri Lanka gave me great experience as a fast bowler to deal with this. Losing in the semi-finals was heart breaking, but I learned a lot so I will take it as a learning curve for the future.’
The speedster has played just three first-class games for Northerns, and is hoping for more game time this season. He has shown he can keep a consistent line and length making it difficult for opposition batsman to score big runs against him and will look to continue to improve. The way forward is with hard work. ‘When I find myself in a slump, I know I have to move through it as quickly as possible, with hard work and extra practice,’ he said.
‘I would like to be in the starting lineup for the Titans in all three formats, starting with the four-day competition. I want to perform well so I can earn a spot in the ODI and T20 side. My aim is to be one of the leading performing bowlers and push to make the SA A side.
‘In order to do so I need to keep progressing and moving forward,’ he added.
Interview by Khalid Mohidin.
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix