PERTH – As far as bucket lists go, playing Australia in Australia is as big as it gets for Proteas fast bowler Lungi Ngidi.
The 22-year old is one of six players in the limited-overs squad making their debut tours ‘Down Under’, with the series set to kick off with the first One-Day International (ODI) at the Optus Stadium in Perth on Sunday, November 4.
The Proteas have settled comfortably in Perth since their arrival on Wednesday, and have been focused on making a steady acclimatisation ahead of their tour match against the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra next Wednesday.
Ngidi says the tour is an ‘exciting’ next step of his flourishing international career, and is looking forward to the occasion of playing against fierce competition in front of boisterous crowds.
“Clashing with Australia is a good competition,” he said to the media at the Proteas’ light practice in Perth on Saturday.
“Everyone is competitive, it is good cricket, and everyone loves to watch it. I am expecting nothing less on this tour.
“The relationship between the two teams is one of competition,” he added. “We keep it on the field, that is where it stays.
“There will always be aggression on a cricket field, the fast bowlers are always going to be coming at the batsmen, and the batsmen will try to take us (bowlers) down.
“You have to keep it civil, but very competitive. I feel it is going to be a good challenge in this series.”
Ngidi has announced himself as a key strike bowler for the Proteas this season, and is South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in ODIs, with 22 wickets at a strike-rate of 22 in the 10 matches he has played this year.
Along with a fit-again Dale Steyn and a fired-up Kagiso Rabada, the youngster is an important third cog of an enticing fast-bowling pack.
He says he can’t wait for an opportunity to bowl in Australian conditions, which he hopes will offer good pace and bounce for the attack.
“I have seen the wickets here are pretty quick, that is going to be exciting,” Ngidi said.
“The main thing is to assess the conditions that you find on the day. I have always been told to never get ahead of myself – on quick wickets, you might get too excited and end up bowling short when it is unnecessary.
“I will try to keep a level head, always hit competitive lengths and keep my aggression.”
The Proteas travel to Canberra on Monday ahead of the tour match against the Prime Minister’s XI on Wednesday.
African News Agency (ANA)