Wed, 17 Jul 2019

Gibson impressed by Proteas rookie Nortje

19 Mar 2019, 23:37 GMT+10

Cape Town - Anrich Nortje has impressed Proteas coach Ottis Gibson over the course of the ODI series against Sri Lanka and he now looks almost certain to go to the World Cup.

The 25-year-old speedster burst onto the scene during last year's Mzansi Super League with the Cape Town Blitz before an ankle injury saw him sidelined for over two months.

Somewhat of a surprising call-up for the ODI series against Sri Lanka, Nortje has been largely successful and left the series with 8 wickets at an average of 18.75 from his four matches.

Nortje, almost immediately, moved ahead of the likes of Beuran Hendricks and Dane Paterson in the World Cup pecking order, and that is almost all down to his express pace.

Unlike team-mate Lungi Ngidi, Nortje does not look like a man who can bowl at 150 kph. He is small in frame, but generates serious gas and has troubled the visiting Sri Lankans throughout the series.

That much was evident in the fifth ODI at Newlands on Saturday, where he banged in several short deliveries that caused problems more often than not.

Nortje is far from the finished product and he showed in the fourth ODI in Port Elizabeth that there is still a long way to go after he was smashed for 37 runs in just two overs thanks to the fireworks of Isuru Udana.

His death bowling may require work, but Nortje will be exposed to some of the cleanest hitters in world cricket when he plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the upcoming IPL and that will surely help.

Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Ngidi will be the first-choice pace trio in England, but in Nortje the Proteas have found able back-up.

"He has come in and done well. He will certainly be part of the conversation," Gibson said when discussing Nortje's World Cup prospects.

"I thought he did really well in the series. On Sunday he bowled really well and complimented the other bowlers.

"One of the things we have always looked at when putting together a bowling unit is for guys who can get wickets in the middle overs. Bowling at first change with his pace, he surely is a wicket-taker."

Nortje is set to gain even more experience in Proteas colours over the next week after being included in the squad for all three T20Is against Sri Lanka.

The first T20I takes place in Cape Town on Tuesday. Play starts at 18:00.

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