Donald: Credit to Gibson for SA's four paceman theory

Allan Donald, the South African fast bowling legend, was excited about the new kid on the block Lungi Ngidi and believes the latter would go onto form a potent pace combination with countryman Kagiso Rabada.

Allan Donald nicknamed 'white lightning' was one of the most fiercest fast bowlers during the 1990s.   -  AP

 

Allan Donald instilled fear in the batsmen before knocking them over. Fast, hostile and skillful, he ran in with grace and released in a manner that was classical yet explosive.

Called the ‘White Lightning,’ he picked 330 wickets in 72 Tests at 22.25 (strike rate, 47.00), leaving many with bruised egos and broken limbs. The South African legend, now 51 and into coaching, shared his views with Sportstar on the ongoing series between his former side and India.

The predatory former fast bowler was excited about the new kid on the block, Lungi Ngidi. “I saw him bowl two years ago in a one-day match and immediately knew he had all the ingredients. He is still a puppy in the big league but has it in him to go all the way.”

Donald said, “Lungi not just has loads of ability, he is fast and bowls a heavy ball, but is also a very bright lad. He’s a stunning talent and a very mature, young bowler.”

He believed Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada would form a potent pace combination. “Rabada has been almost unreal, given how young he is and the kind of load he has shouldered over the last two years. He’s an impact bowler with control and pace. Rabada and Ngidi should form quite a pair.”

Alan Donald had high praise for South Africa's latest pace sensation Lungi Ngidi.   -  AP

 

Donald was delighted with the manner Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel were bowling in the Test series. “If there is something in the pitch for the seamers, there is nobody better than Vernon to exploit it.”

He continued, “And I am happy there has been a lot more recognition for Morne in the last two years. To me, he’s been the guy under the radar most of the time, doing silent but valuable work.”

Turning his attention to South Africa coach Ottis Gibson’s four pacemen theory, Donald observed, “A lot of credit goes to him. When I was playing we had three quicks and Jacques Kallis. But after the departure of Kallis, we became conservative. If we want our pacemen to go all out, then we need to have four of them.”

The Indian pacemen too have made heads turn and Donald said, “The guy who is making all the noise is Bumrah. I am impressed with him. He is quick, accurate and does things with the ball. I was surprised Bhuvneshwar, who is skillful, was left out of the eleven for the second Test.”     

Donald said India had competed in a “nice, aggressive fashion” in the series but added its batsmen had been “found out technically.”

He weighed in, “In India, there is hardly any movement off the seam and bounce. So, when the Indian batsmen come here and play in a pitch like Newlands, the South African pacemen find out their footwork with fuller length deliveries and the off and the fourth stumps.”

Donald believes the Indian batsmen's feet movement were found wanting on South African pitches.   -  AP

 

Donald was appreciative of Virat Kohli’s century at Centurion and noted, “That was a magnificent innings although the Centurion pitch, where a spinner bowled so many overs on the first day, was not a typical South African surface.”

Recalling his famous battles with maestro Sachin Tendulkar, Donald said, “Sachin not only had all the shots but left the ball so well which you need to do in South Africa. It was exciting bowling at him, he coped with the bounce here admirably. Don’t forget Sachin has five Test hundreds in South Africa.”

Donald was delighted with game-changer AB de Villiers’ return to Test fold and said, “He looks fresh after his time out and means so much to this team.”

About the mercurial Dale Steyn’s future, Donald said, “I am a huge fan of Steyn. A complete fast bowler, among the very best. His numbers are staggering. You look at his strike rate and say ‘Wow.’ He had worked his backside off and looked very fit when he played at the Cape Town where many said South Africa fielded its best ever pace quartet. I hope his latest injury does not have a knock-down effect.”

And Faf du Plessis’ captaincy in the series pleased Donald. “I can’t speak enough about Faf. He’s cool, calm aggressive and tactically so good.”

Donald at full throttle was quite a sight. Memories remain.