Home Sport Cricket Rob Walter not worried about Lungi Ngidi as Proteas prepare for Cricket...

Rob Walter not worried about Lungi Ngidi as Proteas prepare for Cricket World Cup

451

Lungi Ngidi’s international playing time has been limited to just five ODIs and four T20Is this year, while he was also not utilised in both the Indian Premier League and US Major League Cricket.

South Africa's Lungi Ngidi celebrates his wicket of Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between South Africa and Zimbabwe at Bellerive Oval in Hobart
Lungi Ngidi’s international playing time has been limited to just five ODIs and four T20Is this year. Picture: David Gray/AFP

Proteas white-ball coach Rob Walter claims Quinton de Kock has “unfinished business” at the ICC World Cup in India next month.

De Kock announced on Tuesday, ahead of the Proteas’ World Cup squad announcement in Bloemfontein, that he will be retiring from One-Day International cricket after the global jamboree.

The Proteas wicket-keeper/batter has, since making his ODI debut in 2013, gone on to play 140 matches and amassed 5 966 runs at an average of 44.85.

The 30-year-old forms part of an experienced batting group of captain Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller and Reeza Hendricks, with youngsters Tristan Stubbs and Dewald Brevis omitted from the squad.

‘A player knows’

“A player himself knows when it’s the right time to step out. Quinny has been a magnificent player for South Africa in the 50-over format, and he has some unfinished business from a World Cup point of view,” Walter said.

“It’s great to have his energy directed at these five one-dayers (against Australia, starting in Bloemfontein on Thursday) and then a World Cup to follow.

“We are living in an ever-changing world of cricket, where the league space is strong and becoming more powerful – and the pull on players to be available for national teams as well as league sides, and the inevitable clashing of those two.

“I think the most important thing is managing that whole situation and trying to understand the players’ needs and obviously the needs of a South African side leading up to a World Cup.”

Walter has placed his trust in the pace-heavy squad, with the out-of-form Lungi Ngidi retained at the expense of the injured Wayne Parnell, with young Titans seamer Gerald Coetzee also included alongside Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Sisanda Magala and Marco Jansen.

Ngidi’s international playing time has been limited to just five ODIs and four T20Is this year, while he was also not utilised in both the Indian Premier League and US Major League Cricket.

“I’m not concerned about Lungi at all, to be honest. I’ve seen the work Lungi has put in over the winter period. T20 can be brutal and this past series (against Australia) in particular,” Walter said.

“I do feel there is a slightly different dynamic to 50-over cricket. I know he will find his feet soon enough and we must be careful not to look at things in isolation.

“Parney was one of the tough decisions to make. He formed part of that six-strong fast bowling group but we went for Gerald in this instance, purely because of someone that has extra pace in relation to Parney.

“Tough call on him and tough on him to miss out. But the injury is not the issue.”

No genuine all-rounder

The glaring absence in the 15-man squad is the lack of a genuine all-rounder, especially with regards to the crucial No 7 batting position.

Andile Phehlukwayo filled the role at the 2019 World Cup in England, but the KwaZulu-Natal all-rounder’s form has dropped significantly over the intervening period and he has been surpassed by the likes of Jansen and Magala.

Walter admits the importance of middle-to-lower-order runs, but looks at it more as a composite unit than any particular individual fulfilling the role.

“I think the No 7 spot is key in one-day cricket. For me, it’s assessing what the combined capabilities of No 7, eight and nine are. Do they make up two batters?

“If I look at Marco, we have seen him play some pivotal knocks at No 7 already, and he is a guy who is only getting better and better in terms of his all-round capabilities.”

@ZaahierAdams

Previous articleNintendo wants to be much more than a video game company
Next articleVeteran Xulu is happy to help Bafana youngsters find their feet