Proteas

Phehlukwayo 'proud' of childhood rival Ngidi

2018-01-25 10:37
Andile Phehlukwayo (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Lungi Ngidi took just one wicket in India's first innings on Wednesday, but it was the wicket that matters most. 

For the second time in a row, the 21-year-old got rid of Indian skipper Virat Kohli. 

At Centurion in the second Test, he had him out LBW while at the Wanderers on Day 1 of the third Test, he nicked Kohli off and had him caught by AB de Villiers in the slip cordon. 

Ngidi continues to impress in his start to international cricket. On Wednesday, he finished with figures of 1/27 from 15 overs. 

But another youngster, 21-year-old Andile Phehlukwayo, also took his chance on Wednesday. 

Playing in just his fourth Test, Phehlukwayo took the key wickets of the set Cheteshwar Pujara (54) and the dangerous Hardik Pandya (0). 

That gave him figures of 2/25, and Phehlukwayo has quietly gone about taking 11 wickets on the Test stage since making his debut against Bangladesh late last year. 

When one considers that Kagiso Rabada is still just 22, there is reason to be optimistic about the future of South African cricket, particularly in the bowling department. 

Phehlukwayo and Ngidi go back a long way. 

Both schooled in KwaZulu-Natal - Ngidi went to Hilton and Phehlukwayo to Glenwood - the Proteas team-mates played against and with each other numerous times. 

Back then, they could not have thought that they would be sharing a dressing room together on the Test stage so soon. 

Wednesday was made even more special by the fact that Ngidi's parents were in attendance, watching their son play a Test match for the first time. 

"It is quite special," Phehlukwayo said.

"When I watch Lungi and his parents coming to the game, it reminds me a lot of how we grew up. We used to play together.

"I look at how he’s progressed as an individual and in his cricket and I’m really proud to see that."

Phehlukwayo has had to be patient. 

This Test side is a tough nut to crack at the moment and on wickets where spin is needed, Keshav Maharaj will play. 

With Rabada, Ngidi, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander the fast bowlers, it is hard to see Phehlukwayo breaking into the starting XI just yet unless the Proteas can afford to play five seamers. 

He has tried to use the time on the sidelines to develop as much as possible.

“You’ve got to keep yourself motivated," he said.

"Being in such a good team environment, you want to perform when you’re given your opportunity.

"You want to do well for the team. I’ve kept myself motivated by watching the guys and learning on and off the field.

"It’s not really a battle … it’s a positive to learn so many things about the game at a young age."

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