Ottis: Proteas not affected by ‘great choke’

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BIRMINGHAM – Ottis Gibson has a very cordial relationship with the South Africa media. He is open to the tough questions, and offers up honest answers.

But even he put in a special request ahead of the World Cup for his young players not to be reminded about the Proteas’ greatest “choke” of all time that set in motion a myriad of chokes since. “Many of them were not even out of diapers,” Gibson quipped.

Sorry Gibson, the temptation was just too much to resist, particularly with the Proteas being back at the scene of the crime, Edgbaston. And with it being the 20th anniversary – to the day – yesterday when Allan Donald was left stranded at the one end of the pitch among a bunch of raucous Australians, it was as expected as the rainfall during this World Cup.

“Do you have any memories of that semi-final, did it have any effect on South African cricket?” was the question to Lungi Ngidi.

The 23-year-old fast bowler, though, flat-batted it with a greater resolution than most Proteas batsmen have offered up the past fortnight.

“When you look at that game it was crucial for the guys at that stage,” Ngidi said of the fateful 1999 World Cup semi-final.

“It doesn’t have any effect on us now for it is a new tournament for us. If we keep looking back at things that have happened it’s not going to help us going forward. We have another game to play here and we are looking to win.”

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Lungi Ngidi gives the thumbs up during a training session at Edgbaston yesterday. Photo:Gavin Barker: BackpagePix

SA certainly can’t dwell in the past. It’s only the present that matters. And that’s New Zealand tomorrow in another do-or-die clash.

Fortunately for the Proteas they will have Ngidi back in their bowling arsenal at Edgbaston after the big Titan came through a rigorous fitness test yesterday. Ngidi missed the last couple of matches due to a tight hamstring.

There is no time for Ngidi to find his rhythm though. He needs to hit the ground running, especially after being too short in his last game against Bangladesh at The Oval.

“For me personally the wicket dictates what lengths I bowl and what variations I would bowl,” Ngidi said.

“The covers have been on the field for a while, probably going to seam and nip around a bit. You would obviously go with a fuller length. Having seen the wicket today it is going to be on the slower side.”



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