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Lungi Ngidi reaps IPL benefits

South Africa pacer is especially indebted to Mahendra Singh Dhoni for whom he played for a few years before joining Delhi Capitals
Lungi Ngidi.
Lungi Ngidi.
File photo

Our Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 18.07.22, 05:18 AM

Lungi Ngidi says he owes a lot to the IPL and the characters around it as the popular T20 league has helped him grow in confidence as a bowler. 

The South Africa pacer is especially indebted to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, his captain at Chennai Super Kings, for whom he played for a few years before joining the Delhi Capitals ahead of IPL 2022. Ngidi, in an interview with The Guardian, said that Dhoni placing his trust in him boosted his confidence a lot.

“Having someone of Dhoni’s calibre put his trust in me to win him games when I was 22 was massive for me,” Ngidi said.

Nigidi was picked up by the Super Kings in 2018. The right-arm pacer picked up 11 wickets in seven matches at an average of 14.18 that season, helping the Dhoni-led side to win the title. Thereafter, he played for Dhoni’s team in the 2020 and 2021 editions of the IPL.

The 26-year-old revealed that the IPL also taught him to deal with the pressure of playing in front of massive crowds.  “The IPL also taught me how to handle a big crowd. I’d never played in front of 60,000 people and that was a bit overwhelming at the start. But once you get going, it’s a breeze,” he said.

Ngidi, so far, has played 14 IPL matches and has taken 25 wickets from them. However, he didn’t get a game at this year’s IPL. Even then, the tall speedster said that the experience of bowling at the Capitals’ nets was enriching for him.

“When I talk to Kagiso Rabada, if I am a little down, he’ll remind me: ‘You’re an IPL winner, twice (2018 and 2021), and you’ve won man of the match awards. So why are you sitting here denouncing yourself ?

“Even this year, in Delhi, Rishabh Pant has been so good. He’s young but he already has so much influence within the game and being able to bowl to him in the nets and run ideas past him helps you grow as a cricketer,” Ngidi said.

He had a very successful 2020 with the South African team and was adjudged the country’s T20 and ODI player of the year. But then came the slump and he lost his place in the team. Recently, he made a comeback to the T20I team during the five-match series against India.

Ngidi is hopeful of securing his place as an opening bowler in all three formats during South Africa’s upcoming tour of England.

“My confidence is high, the rhythm is good and I’m just looking forward to playing over here (in England). I really enjoy the English crowds and there’s always good banter so I’m excited,” he said. 

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