Coetzee in race to be fit for Windies tour

GERALD Coetzee, Proteas fast bowler, has returned home because of yet another injury to be assessed for the Test tour to the West Indies. | BackpagePix

GERALD Coetzee, Proteas fast bowler, has returned home because of yet another injury to be assessed for the Test tour to the West Indies. | BackpagePix

Published Jul 11, 2024


PROTEAS fast bowler Gerald Coetzee faces a race against time to be fit for next month’s two-match Test series against the West Indies.

Coetzee was released by his Major League Cricket (MLC) franchise the Texas Super Kings this week after sustaining a low-grade left side strain in the team’s fixture against the LA Knight Riders.

The 23-year-old will undergo further medical assessment by Cricket South Africa’s medical team on his return home.

It is the latest in a long line of injuries Coetzee has sustained in his brief professional career.

The Bloemfontein-born tearaway suffered from “pelvic inflammation” during the Boxing Day Test against India at Centurion last year.

He experienced discomfort in his pelvis, “which progressively got worse while bowling on day three” and was subsequently ruled out of the New Year’s Test at Newlands.

Coetzee was not seen in Proteas colours for the remainder of the home international summer and only returned from injury in April when he played for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

He played 10 matches in total for MI, claiming 13 wickets at an average of 26.23, which included a best of 4-34.

It is this return that convinced Proteas white-ball coach Rob Walter to include the speedster in the 15-man squad for the recent ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the US and Caribbean.

With fellow fast bowler Anrich Nortje having also returned from injury, Coetzee’s services were not called on throughout the tournament despite him being the Proteas’ highest wicket taker in last year’s ODI World Cup in India.

He only played the two matches in the build-up series against hosts West Indies and now just one match for the Texas Super Kings before breaking down again.

The fitness of the young fast bowlers in the Proteas camp has certainly been a cause of concern for red-ball coach Shukri Conrad.

There were a few eyebrows raised after the announcement of the 16-man squad for the Windies tour earlier this week, due to the omission of another 23-year-old fast bowler, Marco Jansen.

Conrad went on to explain that it was in Jansen’s best interests at this stage of his fledgling career because the youngster was set to undergo a “rehab and conditioning” programme on his return from franchise duty in the MLC.

“It’s been a conversation that Rob (Walter), myself and the medical team have had for the longest time now,” Conrad said.

“But given the hectic schedules — not necessarily for South Africa — someone like Plank (Jansen) would have had two months at an IPL (before going) straight to a World Cup, straight into a MLC.

“We felt we can do some really good work with him from a rehab and conditioning point of view, and if there’s some technical work that needs to happen. He’ll have the West Indies and Bangladesh series off and be ready for Sri Lanka and Pakistan,” Conrad said.

Conrad also indicated that “the plan was always that different guys will get breaks at different times”.

Independent Newspapers understands that even before the injury that Coetzee sustained in the MLC, he was earmarked to sit out the Bangladesh tour along with Jansen.

“We want to make sure that we manage these players properly. They never get time to do work on their bodies and on technical stuff.

“It’s not a holiday. It’s about keeping the pool of fast bowlers we have at our disposal fresh,” Conrad said.

Kagiso Rabada, Nandre Burger, Lungi Ngidi and the ever-green Dane Paterson are the other seam bowlers in the Proteas’ touring party to the West Indies.

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