Cape Town - As South Africans prepare to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, Proteas bowler Lungi Ngidi, has shared his story about losing his dad, Jerome, last year just as the 1.93m-tall fast speedster was making strides in his international career.
“He became my number one fan, although he knew nothing about cricket", recalls Ngidi.
"I used to disappear every Saturday - he didn’t know where I was going until he followed me one day and discovered I was watching cricket.
"Losing him as my career just took off was hard. It was a challenge and hurdle in life I had to face in order for me to get to where I am today,” he added.
“My celebration when I take a wicket has a special meaning as well. Everything I do, I just try to make him proud wherever he is. He would tell me that as long as I did my best that’s all that matters and hopefully that’s good enough."
Family plays a huge role in Ngidi’s career and often gets away from the limelight by getting together with loved-ones. He refers to it as a safe zone.
Ngidi is currently on the sidelines after picking
a hamstring strain against Bangladesh in the Proteas’ second
outing of the Cricket World Cup.
“If I could pin-point the things that cause these freak injuries then at least I could rectify, but. at the moment, it happens from nowhere, said the KwaZulu-Natal-born star.
“I keep injuring myself when going down to stop a ball. Perhaps I should stop diving,” he chirped.
Having been in and out of the physiotherapist’s rooms in the past, Ngidi is all too familiar with the road to recovery and ensures that he listens to his body when something goes wrong.
“If you’ve put in the work then you begin to trust your body again. But if you cut corners and don’t do the things you’ve been doing to get to peak physical condition, then it becomes challenging.”
“I also trust my body when coming back from injury because the training and the physio that goes with it is a killer!”, he explained.
On his relationship with fellow paceman Kagiso Rabada, Ngidi believes 'KG' has been a great help when it comes to guiding him on the field at various stages of the game.
“We’ve become a lot closer since playing together in international cricket. He is very relaxed and will always remind me not to overthink certain situations. He’s been there long enough to understand game situations and bowling strategy so that helps me a great deal,” he concludes.
The Proteas are next in action in a must-win match against Afghanistan in Cardiff on Saturday. The first ball is due to be bowed at 14:30 SA time.