Lungi Ngidi delighted with performance of Proteas domestic players

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14 January 2023, National: Having returned from Australia a few days back, Paarl Royals’ star pacer Lungi Ngidi took part in his first SA20 match on Friday against Joburg Super Kings and was the most economical bowler for his side in their comprehensive 7-wicket win. The 26-year-old who finished with figures of 1/13 is excited for the horizons SA20 can open up for the nation’s domestic players.

Speaking ahead of his team’s third game, Ngidi said, “It’s obviously an exciting time for the nation. Having played around the world, I know very well that what we have been able to create is something special with a good competitive edge. The fans have also been supporting it really well, and coming out in huge numbers. In terms of cricket, I’ve already seen a few players that aren’t in international cricket yet, but have really excelled, so it is amazing for SA20 and the country.”

Sharing his thoughts on what impact the league can potentially make, Ngidi said, “I think it’ll definitely broaden the pool of players we have, and that’s what you want to have as a top international team. You want to see how many people can fill a particular position if someone were, let’s say, to get injured or not selected. So, it’s a really good opportunity for all the South African players to learn and excel and make a case for national selection.”

A proper team man, even though Ngidi returned from South Africa’s tour of Australia on the same day as Paarl Royals’ opening match against MI Cape Town, the fiery pacer chose to travel with the team to Cape Town to show his support. “I was disappointed that I couldn’t play, but wanted to be there to support the team. Even though we lost that game, we saw some positives, and were able to turn that around on Friday at home. I’m really excited for this team, and the comprehensive win in Paarl has given us a lot of confidence for this next game,” he said.

Previewing his team’s third match of the competition which will be against Durban’s Super Giants at Kingsmead tomorrow, the right-arm pacer said, “I think it’s going to be similar to our first game because both the grounds are on the coast. We watched the first game that they played in Durban as well, and it seems to be a pretty good wicket, and the guys are really up for the challenge against a strong team,” said Ngidi who’s into his first season as a Royals player across leagues and is “loving the family vibe around the group.”

Since his international debut in 2017, Ngidi has evolved into one of the key pacers for South Africa, and with more than 140 T20 wickets under his belt, the 26-year-old has become accustomed to the format. “Obviously bowling in T20s isn’t easy. The fans want to see sixes and fours, and as a bowler there’s more pressure on you. But what I’ve learned over the years is that you should always give your 100% regardless of the result of each of the deliveries.”

Commenting on how the break in between the tournament will pan out for teams, Ngidi said it should be helpful for all teams regardless of how they fare in the first part. “I think all teams would want to start well and go on top into that break where you can then reset and go again. But I think even if you don’t start off as well, that break gives you a chance to get back into the competition with refined strategies and make up for the first part. But as a group, we are not thinking about that, we are focused on doing well in each game and hopefully we will be in a good position when that break arrives,” concluded Ngidi who also added that he enjoys playing under David Miller’s captaincy because of the “freedom he provides.”

Paarl Royals will face Durban’s Super Giants on Sunday, 15th January 2023 at Kingsmead from 13.30hrs South African Standard Time (GMT+2) and 17.00hrs Indian Standard Time.

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