Lungi Ngidi will spearhead the Tshwane Spartans bowling attack in the Mzansi Super League. Photo: Reuters

He had to endure the heartbreak of losing his father during the IPL, and had to return home for the funeral.

But Lungi Ngidi was still able to return to India afterwards and be part of a winning Chennai Super Kings outfit, playing a key role in taking 11 wickets in seven matches and a good economy rate of around six per over.

So, he knows what he’s talking about when he says that the Mzansi Super League could follow in the footsteps of the IPL and become one of the most sought-after T20 leagues on the cricket calendar.

“Very exciting to get our own T20 league going… The IPL is a very big T20 league around the world, and a lot of guys have been able to showcase what they can do on that stage,” Ngidi told Cricket South Africa following the player draft, where he was signed by the Tshwane Spartans.

“So, I don’t see it as any different. The South African league can grow into a massive league as well.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity for a lot of young cricketers, and just looking forward to the tournament.”

Being one of the ‘million-rand men’ after being picked up in the first round of the draft brings added pressure for Ngidi.

But coming through the ‘wringer’ at Chennai and emerging as a champion will have prepared the 22-year-old Proteas paceman for any eventuality.

“It does give me a lot of confidence, being picked in the first round. It wasn’t something that I expected, but having won the IPL, it does give me a lot of confidence as a cricketer, as a bowler,” Ngidi said.

“I know that people back me, based now on the position I was selected in. So I’m just looking to impress and keep doing well.

“I enjoy T20 cricket. It puts a lot of people under pressure, and it really tests your character as a person. I have always believed in pressure situations, is where you find out how good you really are as a cricketer.

“So, being in those pressure situations, I try to do as best as I can, and keep performing. As long as you can keep doing that, people will keep selecting you.”

Ngidi is set to miss the MSL tournament opener for the Spartans against Cape Town Blitz on November 16 (7pm) at Newlands, as he will be on duty for the Proteas in Australia.

But he will be one of the key men in their attack for the rest of the event, along with Rory Kleinveldt, Robbie Frylinck and Andrew Birch.

 

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