Proteas hero Ngidi credits bowling coach Langeveldt

Lungi Ngidi (Gallo)
Lungi Ngidi (Gallo)

Cape Town - Proteas seamer Lungi Ngidi has had some week, going from zero to hero in just three days. 

The 23-year-old endured a nightmarish time in the third ODI against England at the Wanderers on Sunday, traveling for figures of 0/36 from his first three overs and then being 0/52 from five.

Then, out of nowhere, Ngidi burst into life and took 3/11 from his last four overs to finish with 3/63 (9) as the Proteas went down by two wickets. 

It was a similar story in the first T20 against England in East London on Wednesday night. 

Defending 177, the Proteas looked dead and buried. Ngidi again had been poor, sitting with figures of 0/20 (2). 

He then led a superb fightback along with Beuran Hendricks (2/33 in 3) to guide South Africa to the unlikeliest one-run victory and a 1-0 series lead. 

Ngidi finished with figures of 3/30 (4), meaning his last two overs had gone for just 10 runs and three wickets. 

It was another stunning display at the back-end of an innings from a man who has struggled to stay fit ever since he broke onto the international stage in 2017. 

Not at the speeds he once was, Ngidi is relying more on skill, especially at the death where slower balls and cutters have become a common feature of his game. 

Speaking after Wednesday's thriller, Ngidi was full of praise for Proteas bowling coach Charl Langeveldt, who carved out a reputation for himself as a skilful death bowler during his playing days. 

"He's had a massive impact in terms of the mental side," Ngidi said of Langeveldt. 

"Having watched the way he used to bowl has obviously given me as a young player a lot of confidence knowing that someone like that is now on my journey.

"He's made sure that I back the skills that I'm good at to produce something like that at the back-end."

Ngidi, part of a recently completed Proteas conditioning camp, is looking leaner than he has before. 

"Physically, I'm trying as best I can to get back to the pace that I was at and to hit the areas that I'm known for hitting," he said.

"I guess it's a mental thing to be able to finish off well in situations that require you too."

Ngidi also had praise for Proteas coach Mark Boucher, who he worked with previously at the Titans. 

"Bouch is someone who is very honest and we know that there are a lot of fast bowlers now fighting for a spot," he said.

"You've got to be on your 'A game'. If you're not quite there, somebody else is going to come in.

"I'm not planning on letting anyone take my spot so I'm just going to keep playing as best I can."

The second T20 takes place in Durban on Friday. 

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England 29/1 (13.2 ov)
West Indies 0
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