Kagiso Rabada has voiced his delight with the performance of Lungi Ngidi and he expects to build a great partnership with his school friend Lungi Ngidi in future. Ngidi who claimed seven wickets on his Test debut against India in Centurion was also called the X-factor by Rabada.
An injury of Dale Steyn opened the doors for Ngidi to make his South African debit and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he returned with 6/39 in the second innings. He was well supported by Rabada who claimed three wickets while conceding 47 runs in the second innings in Centurion which helped the home team in securing a series victory.
The 21-year-old performed admirably against the top-ranked team which caught the eye of the fans. Now his name is being included in South Africa's bowling attack which includes the name of Rabada who despite the age of 22 is already one of the top Test bowlers in the world. Rabada expressed his happiness over Ngidi’s inclusion in the team and sharing the dressing room as it is not the first time when they both play together.
"We played together in the Under-19 team," Rabada said as quoted by Cricbuzz.
"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."
Before the first game in the white jersey, Ngidi has played three T20Is against Sri Lanka in which he grabbed six wickets with an impressive economy rate of 5.50. But his muscle and back injury forced him to stay out of the squad as he took four months to recover.
Rabada and Ngidi were the part of the U-19 side who won the World Cup in 2014 and both got the chance to play for the senior team. Rabada was not surprised when Ngidi received the maiden Test call to join the South African camp as he believed that the right-arm pacer has the X-factor.
"I think every generation you have a few players who get in when they are very young, just on their talent. Like the likes of Aiden Markram - I'm not even sure what he was averaging in the franchise stuff, I think it was like 60 or something high like that," he said.
"Obviously if someone is making it look quite easy there you're going to give him a go. Lungi has been doing the same thing. I think his average has been like 21, he was leading wicket-taker as well. And obviously, he's got x-factor. When someone has got x-factor like that when they're young, you're going to fast-track them."
The South African players were not happy with the behavior of the Centurion pitch as they hoped some favorable track for the home team but they ended up with comparing it with the overseas pitches. It is expected that Wanderers track will offer a good support to the Proteas spearhead department. The stadium hosted 37 Tests so far where the home team emerged victorious 15 times. In past, India played four times on this track where they managed three draws and one win.
"The Wanderers is a good wicket, it's normally a moving wicket. How I mean that is that there's always a result at the Wanderers," said Rabada. "It's a pitch where if you bat well you can score some runs, and if you bowl well you'll take wickets. You're sort of never really 'in' on that pitch. Let's see what is to come, and yes the fast bowlers are excited to bowl at the Wanderers. We always are with its pace and bounce and swing."