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How uncomfortable but honest conversations with Boucher helped whip Ngidi into shape

15 January 2018 - 10:53 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Lungi Ngidi of South Africa during day 2 of the 2nd Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and India at SuperSport Park on January 14, 2018 in Pretoria.
Lungi Ngidi of South Africa during day 2 of the 2nd Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and India at SuperSport Park on January 14, 2018 in Pretoria.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

It took a few uncomfortable but honest conversations with coach Mark Boucher to turn an unfit Lungi Ngidi into a South African Test bowler with a memorable wicket and run out debut at his SuperSport Park home ground.

Ngidi was low on confidence and motivation after a stress fracture injury last year and he revealed that his conversations with Boucher‚ a change in lifestyle and an extended spell in the gym all contributed to his change of fortunes.

Ngidi said it was a "dream come true" to play for his country in this format but he also disclosed that he had to change his mindset and lifestyle to set himself on the path to full recovery. “The whole off season I was in the gym‚" he said.

"I had to lose a lot of weight and one of the main things was that I had to change my lifestyle.

"I have lost about eight kilos and it feels good.

"It was very difficult but it was worth it in the long run and a lot of credit must also go to the trainer and physiotherapist at the Titans for work they did with me.

“And the coach as well‚ we had some hard but honest chats behind closed doors and that also helped me much in the long run‚” he said about his franchise coach Boucher‚ who is known for his no-nonsense approach.

Ngidi‚ whose injury saw him miss South Africa A tour to England last year after he impressed on T20 debut against Sri Lanka‚ said sitting out the tour was one of the biggest challenges of his career.

“That was probably one of the biggest challenges of my career‚ coming from a high to a low in a short space of time‚" he said.

"Being selected to play for South Africa and then getting injured...... it was tough.

"I thought I was doing all the right things but it was not going my way.

"During my time away from the game I got a lot of time to reflect and now I realise that I am actually stronger than I thought‚” he said. Asked to reflect on the wicket of Parthiv Patel‚ he said it was a dream come true. “I had goose bumps.

"They way I took it‚ I was actually talking to Vern (Vernon Philander) about plans and strategy of how to take it and it happened exactly the same we talked about it.

"That made me happy and I now know that I can perform at this level.”

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