South Africa have included fast bowler Lungi Ngidi in the 14-man squad for the first three of five One-Day Internationals against Sri Lanka and have handed a maiden call-up to pacer Anrich Nortje, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Sunday (February 24).
Ngidi has been on the sidelines since November 2018 after an ill-timed knee injury forced him to go under the knife and subsequently ruled him out for three months. He has turned out for South Africa in four Tests, 13 ODIs and seven T20Is and has given a good account of himself in all the outings.
“It is great to have Lungi back in the squad after a lengthy period on the sidelines caused by the injury he suffered in the white ball series in Australia last year,” commented CSA National Selection Panel (NSP) convener Linda Zondi. “His recent form for the Titans in the Momentum One-Day Cup has been most impressive and he is clearly match-fit for international cricket again."
Nortje, an out and out fast bowler, first hogged the limelight during the inaugural edition of Mzansi Super League where he picked up eight wickets in three matches including the likes of Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma and Reeza Hendricks. His stint though was cut short by an ankle injury but the three games he played gave enough evidence of the talent he possessed. He later bagged an IPL contract as well with Kolkata Knight Riders picking him up for INR 20lakh for the upcoming season.
Nortje’s career statistics make for an impressive read. He has in all picked up 162 wickets in 47 first-class games at an average of 25.72 while in List A games he has returned 43 wickets in 28 outings at 24.04.
“Anrich has also come back well from injury and we want to see what he can offer the Proteas after his highly impressive form in the Mzansi Super League. Outright pace is not something that you can coach, and he looks another exciting addition to our pace arsenal," Zondi remarked.
While the rest of the squad is on expected lines, a few key names are missing such as Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla. While Markram did not feature in the ODIs against Pakistan though he was in the squad, Amla has been going through a torrid run of form of late.
Zondi though insisted that the players have not been dropped and will likely come into the side for the last two ODIs. He also said that CSA were confident JP Duminy, who is recovering from a shoulder injury will be fit in time for the final two games.
Wiaan Mulder and Rassie van der Dussen, who were both impressive in the outings against Pakistan have been retained.
“Those players who were in the squad against Pakistan but who have been left out this time have not been dropped. We need to use the first part of this series to examine all the options that are available to us,” explained Zondi. “We know, for example, what Hashim Amla has to offer us and he remains a senior member of our squad.
“We are also hopeful that the last remaining Protea on the injury list, JP Duminy, will be available for the last two matches against Sri Lanka."
The first ODI gets underway at the Wanderers Stadium, in Johannesburg on March 3.
Squad for first three ODIs:
Faf du Plessis (capt), Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen