Proteas’ Anrich Nortje ‘got the rust out’ with a bit of backing and game time

Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje has found some form during the T20 World Cup. Picture: Robert Cianflone / Getty Images via AFP

Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje has found some form during the T20 World Cup. Picture: Robert Cianflone / Getty Images via AFP

Published Jun 10, 2024


Proteas captain Aiden Markram believes speedster Anrich Nortje is getting back to his very best after getting backed by the South African coaching staff during the ICC T20 World Cup.

Nortje came into the tournament short of form after a rather underwhelming Indian Premier League. To be fair, the IPL was Nortje’s first run out in the middle since missing the 50-over World Cup last year in India because of injury and looked really rusty.

Nortje took seven wickets and went for over 13 runs an over in the six matches he played in the IPL. The Warriors fast bowler then conceded 12.16 runs an over in the two matches against the West Indies, going wicketless in that warm-up series.

However, with conditions suiting the bowlers in South Africa’s two T20 World Cup matches at the Nassau County Ground in New York, Nortje looks like he has found his rhythm again, taking 4/7 against Sri Lanka and 2/19 against the Netherlands.

Nortje and Ottniel Baartman have been the pick of the Proteas’ bowlers, with international rookie Baartman picking up 1/9 against Sri Lanka and 4/11 against the Dutch.

“Both of them have been fantastic. You look at Anna, maybe (in) the build up to the World Cup he would have liked to have done better, potentially come with more confidence,” said Markram.

“But we had him just before his massive injury, and he was, at that time, probably one of the best bowlers in the world. I don’t think that changes, I think (he) just (needed) a bit of backing and a bit of game time, naturally, to get that rust out. And then naturally a wicket where there’s a bit for him to work with at least helps.

“Ottniel is really clear, keeps things really simple, got a nice skill set and that’s what they back. So, it’s great to see it’s worked for the two of them (and) probably the whole bowling attack so far. But for us as a changing room, it’s great to have Nortje firing and full of confidence.”

The Proteas next play Bangladesh on Monday afternoon (4.30pm start) at the same venue. A win will see the Proteas qualify for the Super Eight stage with one game to spare - the South Africans still have to play Nepal.

— Proteas Men (@ProteasMenCSA) June 10, 2024

The pitch conditions in New York, however, have levelled the playing field, with all the matches played in the Big Apple being low-scoring, tight affairs.

The Proteas have experienced these conditions twice now, but they certainly won’t take the Bangladesh team lightly.

“If you look at conditions, and you look at a really strong Bangladesh team, it’s going to be a proper challenge for us,” said Markram.

“But we’ve luckily had the privilege of playing two games now on the surface and at this venue. Hopefully it can give us even clearer plans and we can develop plans from a batting point of view how to get to a score of maybe about 140 if we do bat first and hopefully then our bowlers can do the rest.”