The Proteas’ preparations for next year’s World Cup received one of its biggest blows to date.
Team management on Friday confirmed that Lungi Ngidi will be on the sidelines for three months after sustaining a knee injury.
The exciting 22-year-old quick had made a massive impression as an international bowler the past year and leaves a substantial void in South Africa’s bowling attack.
Ngidi damaged ligaments during last week’s one-off T20 against Australia.
“Lungi fell awkwardly while fielding during the T20I against Australia last Sunday. He underwent investigations and further assessment
s with knee specialists upon his return to South Africa, which revealed a significant ligament injury to the right knee,” said team doctor and manager Mohammed Moosajee.
“Due to the significant nature of the injury, he will require a minimum of 12 weeks of rest and rehabilitation to make a successful return to play.”
The headache for the Proteas is now that coach Ottis Gibson and captain Faf du Plessis had now hoped to now merely fine-tune their attack for next year’s showpiece and seemed to have settled on the potent quartet of Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir.
Now, a replacement will need to be sought and given game-time, especially if Ngidi can’t return as expected for the series against Sri Lanka in March.
His MSL franchise, the Tshwane Spartans, will also need to acquire a replacement for the rest of the campaign.