fast little loans
AUCKLAND: “When he hit you, you stay hit.” These were the words of Ernie Accorsi, general manager of the New York Giants, when speaking about great Chicago Bears middle linebacker and Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.
It is believed that opponents often had a deer-in-the-headlights look of fear when seeing the behemoth Butkus barrelling down on them.
The sheer panic in their eyes bears a close resemblance to the expression of fast bowlers when running in to bowl to South African Twenty20 sensation Richard Levi. It’s no wonder then that the Proteas’ American fielding coach, Mike Young, has given Levi the nickname “Butkus”, because when the 24-year-old hits a cricket ball, it certainly stays hit.
And on Sunday in Hamilton, Levi really showed the world that he could hit a cricket ball a long way, a really long way – and many times as well. He hit 13 sixes – a world record – and posted the quickest century in the history of T20 internationals, requiring just 45 balls to reach that mark.
One bowler who certainly knows what it is like bowling to Levi is Vernon Philander. The Proteas Test new-ball operator has been Levi’s franchise teammate since the former Wynberg Boys’ High prodigy swapped his khaki shorts for the blue flannels of the Cape Cobras six years ago.
Levi often talks about the “initiation” he received from Philander and fellow Cobras seamer Rory Kleinveldt when he first arrived at senior training sessions.
“Rors (Kleinveldt) and Vern really gave it to me, hey. Rors bounced the hell out of me, and Vern was just seaming it away. (They) made me look pretty stupid, and I knew whatever I had achieved at high school meant nothing. I was now in the big leagues.”
The admiration now seems to be on the other foot. Philander may be South Africa’s find of the summer in Test cricket with 30 wickets in four matches, but he knows bowling to Levi can be a nightmare experience.
“Richie handles pace very well, because he has such a presence at the crease. He uses space well by either moving deep or sideways to create his own lengths,” Philander explained. “When you’re bowling to Richie, whether it be in the nets or in the middle, you have to be up for a battle or you will travel.”
But does the muscular right-hander have limitations in his game that can be exploited, as it appears he lunges on the front foot before the ball is even delivered?
“Yes, he is front-foot-dominated,” Philander added. “But remember, this is one-day cricket. A fast bowler is only allowed one bouncer per over, and Richie knows that very well. And it’s not like he can’t play the short ball either. We saw what happened to Tim Southee when he got it wrong. And that’s his big strength. He has the ability to pick up the length of the ball very easily.
“Many teams try and tuck him up by bowling straight in order not to give him width to free his arms. This is a dangerous plan, because often they stray down the legside. Richie feeds off these loose balls, simply picking it off his pads for six.”
While Levi will never have the athleticism of gazelles like Justin Ontong and JP Duminy, Philander puts it in perspective: “He is a big boy, there’s no doubt about that. Those forearms are massive. But it’s not all power with Levi. It’s in his technique. He creates unbelievable bat speed, which allows him to lift the ball so easily. He is playing really well, and long may it continue for South Africa!” – Cape Times
Luzuko Nqakala, wrote
i waz not sure that he could do it 4 the SA but he proved himself wrng 2 m i say he must b put on this ODI squad go LEVI go make us proud boy
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