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India vs South Africa: Virat Kohli’s wicket means a lot to me - Lungi Ngidi

Lungi Ngidi, who took a six-wicket haul in South Africa’s 135-run series-clinching win over India at Centurion, said getting Virat Kohli in the second innings was a ‘very special moment’ for him.

cricket Updated: Jan 17, 2018 21:07 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Centurion
India vs South Africa,Lungi Ngidi,Virat Kohli
Lungi Ngidi was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match for his match haul of 7/90 in South Africa’s 135-run win over Virat Kohli’s India at Centurion. (BCCI )

Lungi Ngidi, who took a six-wicket haul on debut to fire South Africa to a series win here on Wednesday, said Virat Kohli’s is the wicket he will cherish the most. (HIGHLIGHTS)

“The moment for me I think was the captain’s wicket. That was a very special moment and I felt that I had worked hard and sort of figured out a gameplan of bowling towards him. So finally getting that really did mean a lot to me,” said Ngidi after the Test match. (SCORES)

Just 21, Ngidi has been playing for the Titans even though he is from Natal. It was only due to the constant perseverance of former provincial cricketer Pierre de Bruyn that Ngidi was finally convinced to come to Transvaal.

(Read | Faf du Plessis takes jibe at India for being too reliant on Virat Kohli after series win)

“It took him three years, actually. He first arrived in my Grade 10 years and asked me to come to the Titans then, and I wasn’t having it. But it was amazing how consistently he would arrive and keep asking for me. I wanted to see if he really meant it, so I also kind of played hard to get. Eventually, in my Matric year, I wanted to further my studies and he offered me that opportunity and playing cricket at the same time. When I arrived here, I honestly didn’t know where it was going to go. I thought to myself: Just play, do what you can do as best you can … and here I am today,” he said, adding that he grew up idolising Andre Nel the most.

(Read | South Africa end India’s dream run in Test cricket with Centurion win)

“I actually watched a lot of Andre Nel and was convinced that I had the same bowling action as him, but I realise now that isn’t true. Ntini, Nel, Dale Steyn … those were my idols that I looked up to,” he said.

Ngidi also said it was a dream come true bowling in tandem with Kagiso Rabada.

(Read | Virat Kohli devastated after 1st cricket series loss as skipper, says ‘India not good enough’)

“During the game I couldn’t say anything, I had to internalise it, but it really was a dream come true to bowl with him. It has been a dream of mine. He actually has a lot of knowledge for a youngster as well. He is No 1 in the world and it shows. We had been chatting throughout the innings and he had been giving me idea, and to see them work is special as well,” he said.

Like Rabada, Ngidi too aspires to be the No 1 Test bowler one day but he didn’t want to put a date on it. “I wouldn’t give it a specific date, but as a sportsman I would also like to achieve a milestone like that. It’s something I’ll definitely be chasing,” he said.

“I’d love this to be a long career. I know many people talk about how injuries have affected me in the past, but I feel like this is a new start. In the past, I didn’t know what I was doing, to be honest. Now I’ve sort of found my feet and I know which path I’m going down as a cricketer. I’d also like it to be one of the long careers and maybe go down on the honours board,” he said.

First Published: Jan 17, 2018 21:02 IST