The magical symbolism of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi bowling together for the Proteas might not yet been seen in the second Test against India, starting on Saturday in Centurion.
Much has been made of the 21-year-old Titans quick’s inclusion in the squad earlier this week.
Ngidi provided a glimpse of an exciting future after taking six wickets in just two T20s against Sri Lanka last season before a succession of injuries hampered his progress.
Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis did come across as a bit lukewarm in throwing him at the deep end, especially against the No 1 ranked Test side in the world.
“The present is really important for me at the moment but we also need to keep the future in mind,” he said on Friday.
“There’s a lot of Test cricket still to be played. We still have two Tests against India and then four against Australia. I’ve said before the success of our Test side will be very much dependent on our fast bowling group. Lungi has been brought into the squad and I want to get a closer look at him.”
Interestingly, Du Plessis admitted he hadn’t seen Ngidi in action until Thursday.
Du Plessis was rested for the T20s against Sri Lanka.
“I hadn’t seen him bowl, so it was great to get to know him and see what he’s got. I believe there’s a lot of talent there but we’ve got a whole group of good bowlers,” he said.
“Lungi’s a very nice guy. He’s got good manners, he went to a good school. But I’m really impressed with his bowling. He bowls a heavy ball and he likes involving himself.”
Given Ngidi’s own injury problems – especially his back – another consideration for not perhaps picking him just yet is Vernon Philander’s newfound fitness.
South Africa’s hero at Newlands seemed more willing to carry a heavier burden in that 72-run victory after being publicly criticised in England last year.
“Vernon is now in a place where he’s fitter. The pleasing thing for me is that Vern wants the ball all the time. He wasn’t tired after four overs and was ready all the time. We’re more dangerous then,” said Du Plessis.