Kagiso Rabada's ban forces Lungi Ngidi to rethink his actions

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Kagiso Rabada's ban forces Lungi Ngidi to rethink his actions

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SportsCafe Desk

03/14/2018

South African fast bowler Lungi Ngidi has been taken aback by the manner in which the ICC's code of conduct has been applied to Kagiso Rabada. The 21-year old pacer also revealed that he can never say he wants to be ‘KG’ Rabada, and it has forced him to rethink his actions.

What transpired for Kagiso Rabada over the last week or so has garnered multiple and varied reactions. He was suspended by the ICC after match referee Jeff Crowe ruled that the fast bowler's shoulder contact with Steve Smith on day one was both inappropriate and deliberate. Rabada was given 3 demerit points for his shoulder contact which pushed his total to 8, which equates to a two-Test ban. 

Lungi Ngidi who had a dream debut against India, has played 10 international games (3 Tests, 4 ODIs and 3 T20Is) so far. He is still relatively new to international cricket and is still learning the trade of demerit point system. But he confessed that the punishment handed out to Rabada has opened his eyes to the dangers of crossing the ICC's code of conduct. He also said that the Rabada incident has made him rethink his actions as a player.

“Their judgement is the final call. I’ve got no right to say they’re wrong. We just take care of what we can on the field. ‘KG’, as a player he knows he might have crossed the line. Maybe not. Who are we to say where the line is? It’s an interesting situation. I’ve never been part of it. Coming into international cricket and seeing something like this happen, it does take you aback and make you rethink your actions as a player,” Ngidi was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. 

Ngidi and Rabada were both part of South Africa's Under-19 team at one point, so Ngidi is aware of Rabada's character. He observed that Rabada is naturally an aggressive fast bowler and suggested aggression and emotions should be part of the game.

“You can be aggressive with your actions, with what you say, or - in general, for me - the areas you bowl. Putting a batsman under pressure, having a presence, letting him know that you're there. Those are the things I lean towards as a cricketer. I don't really have to say much. I feel just a look may be good enough. Those are the kinds of things I say are aggression,” the 21-year-old added. 

Ngidi, however, does not want to follow the footsteps of his teammate as he thinks he has his own skills and traits. But he is grateful to for the advice he’s been getting. 

“I'm starting to find my own feet. He's a great bowler to get information from and to learn from. But I am a different person. I'm a lot more reserved as a person, so I can never say I want to want to be 'KG' Rabada. I've got my own abilities, my own skills and traits. Having him give me a bit of advice here and there is really helpful. It's helping me improve as a person and as a cricketer,” the 3-Test old pacer said. 

With Rabada all set to miss the third Test (Rabada can still appeal against ban), Ngidi has a big responsibility of playing a bigger role in South Africa pace battery. He feels that South Africa can still put pressure on Australia despite Rabada’s absence.  

“The thing is if he is not there, we are a well-rounded bowling team. We’ve got very experienced guys in Morne and Vernon (Philander). They know how to lead bowling attacks. Also bringing me into the attack. They know how to give information and pretty much display what to do in the field. 

“It will be a massive loss if (Rabada) is not there but it does give another person the opportunity to step up and fill the gap and come hard at the Australians. Even though we are missing KG, we will still put a lot of pressure on them,” Ngidi added.

Ngidi was also given a national contract for the first time in his career. However, the pacer also expressed that he didn’t expect a national contract. 

“I didn't expect the national contact but I will take it in my stride as well. I'm just really enjoying everything that's happening. The pace might be quick but taking it every day at a time,” Ngidi stated. 

The next Test between South Africa and Australia will commence on March 22 (Thursday). 

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