South Africa’s quota system in selection making team stronger
When Dale Steyn hobbled out of the Cape Town Test, many feared it would end South Africa deploying a potent pace quartet. Little did they know that a tall young man, Lungi Ngidi, was waiting at Centurion for his chance to make history. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA FULL COVERAGE)
By the end of the series, Ngidi had done enough to become a household name in South Africa. Ask Virat Kohli, who was dismissed by Ngidi twice in four innings.
Till the Cape Town Test, there were two black pacers in the bowling attack. At the Wanderers, four out of five were black. While it’s definitely a testimony to individual talent shining through, South Africa’s transformation policy too has got something to do with it.
Till not so long ago, black people were considered good to play only football. Now they are making forays into cricket and rugby, still considered ‘white heavy’ sports. While there are divergent views about the policy, former South Africa pacer Allan Donald believes it’s a reality that needs to be embraced. “We all understand the history of South African cricket, where we are now in terms of transformation, and that will not go away anytime soon,” Donald had said some time back about the quota system.
Though the long term benefit of this system is awaited, cricket won’t say it hasn’t benefited. Watching two black pacers bowl from either end of the pitch reminds one of the great West Indies pace attacks of the 1970s and 1980s.
Vernon Philander, who played his 50th Test at Wanderers, is the leader of the pack with his length and line. But Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada, now the No 1 Test bowler, make it a different sight altogether.
“Lungi and I played together in the under-19,” Rabada said before the third Test, after Ngidi had produced a match-winning spell in Centurion.
“We even toured India I remember, but he got injured unfortunately and his trip was cut short. But we played together at school and we have a history. So, it’s just nice to play with your friend from when you were a teenager. Hopefully long may it continue, and we can form a great partnership,” he said.
For Ngidi, bowling with KG (Rabada) was dream come true. “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. 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,” said Ngidi after the Centurion Test.
To have two tall pacers bowl so quick is a resource South Africa must utilise well with Australia to tour next. Ngidi has already shown his worth, taking nine wickets in two Tests, while Rabada and Philander have taken 15 each against India.
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