- The smile on 21-year-old Lungi
Ngidi's face told its own story at the end of day two of
the second Test between the Proteas and India at Centurion.
He had to remain patient in the
field as South Africa's premier seamers and spinner Keshav Maharaj were given
the responsibility of getting through the Indian batters, but in his second
spell in front of his home support he finally got on the board with his first Test
It was a probing delivery that
had Indian wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel in two minds, and the result was an edge
through to Quinton de Kock for the biggest roar of the day.
Ngidi got through nine overs,
Test debut was a dream of mine and I’m happy to say it came true on my home
ground. It was a very good day," a beaming Ngidi told media afterwards.
I’m hyper-critical, I could have done a bit better. But I’ll take it.”
things haven't always been this good for the speedster.
burst onto the international scene a year ago when he played three T20Is
against Sri Lanka. He bowled at pace throughout that series and emerged with
six impressive wickets.
Cricket lovers immediately took
notice of him and, given his youth, he was instantly identified as one of South
African cricket's brightest prospects.
Ngidi, it seemed, had arrived at
the tender age of 20.
But what was supposed to be a
breakthrough year for him became a nightmarish one as first a side strain and
then a back problem kept him out for the majority of 2017.
His conditioning was labelled a
problem, and there were fears that this unique talent would never reach his
"That was probably one of
the biggest challenges I’ve had in my career, going from such a high to such a
low in such a short space of time," he revealed on Sunday.
"It was tough for me because
I thought I was doing all the right things and the results just weren’t going
After months of rehab, intense
physical training and a dose of self-reflection, Ngidi has come back stronger
than he ever was.
You can see it in his physical
appearance, but he believes it is about more than that.
"I got a lot of time to
reflect and get to know myself as a person and I got through it," he said.
"I’m a lot stronger than I
thought I was and it helped me with a lot of confidence going forward."
Ngidi revealed that dietary
changes and some hard conversations with some of his management at the Titans
were key to a metamorphosis that saw him tone up and lose 8kg.
"The whole off-season I was
actually in the gym. I had to lose a lot of weight," he said.
"I think one of the main
things was diet and changing my lifestyle. That was very difficult but it
helped me in the long run.
"A lot of credit goes to our
trainer and physio and also our coach. We had to have a few hard chats behind
closed doors and some honest chats as well."
Hopefully, those days of fitness
worries are behind him, because Ngidi still has a lot of important work to do
over the next three days.
will resume day three on 183/5 and the still trail the Proteas by 152.