Bright lights opened doors for Proteas' star Anrich Nortje to shine
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CAPE TOWN - Anrich Nortje knows more than most the value of performing when the lights are on in a T20 franchise league.
Nortje, 26, made his first-class debut back in 2013 already but the Uitenhage-born fast bowler only shot to prominence during the inaugural Mzansi Super League two years ago. Playing for the Cape Town Blitz, Nortje charged in and rattled some of the most senior batsmen in the country on free-to-air television and was suddenly transformed into a household name.
It was, though, not only “Joe Public” and his mates watching at home that were impressed with Nortje’s raw pace, but also the national selectors and a Proteas’ ODI debut followed shortly afterwards.
“It is difficult to make a name for yourself playing only red-ball cricket. I think playing T20 cricket, the hype around it, is a way to get your name out there,” Nortje said from his home in the Eastern Cape.
“It’s not the be all and end all, but for me I really enjoyed my time at the Cape Town Blitz. It gave me so much opportunity after that. Even though I was playing for a couple of years, there were suddenly people asking ‘where did he come from?’”
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/SAvAUS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SAvAUS- UPDATE:
Anrich Nortje picked up his first wicket of the match.
Australia are 179/5 after 36 overs and need 113 runs to seal the win.
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV)
Nortje’s star shone far and wide with Indian Premier League team Kolkata Knight Riders also snapping up the fast bowler, but unfortunately due to a couple of niggling injuries Nortje was forced to withdraw from both the IPL and last year’s World Cup.
However, after an impressive year of playing international cricket across all formats for the Proteas since his return from injury, there is another opportunity with the St Lucia Zouks in this year’s Caribbean Premier League on the horizon. The CPL is scheduled to be played between August 18 and September 10 behind closed doors in Trinidad & Tobago, subject to the permission from the local government.
“I think at the time I was trying to focus on the World Cup and put the thoughts of the IPL away. But I watched a couple of the games and I suffered during rehab again because it was just irritating me again. The CPL is an opportunity to put your name out there again,” he told IOL Sport.
With the Caribbean one of the least affected regions in the world, Nortje along with his Proteas teammates Tabraiz Shamsi (Jamaica Tallawahs) and Rassie van der Dussen (Patriots) will likely all be heading off the West Indies. Fellow Proteas Faf du Plessis and David Miller could also join the trio after the draft.
Nortje has some business to take care of at home first, though, after being listed as one of the Proteas Test Cricketer of the Year award nominees.
The prize-giving ceremony is set to be held via a virtual platform on July 4. “To be nominated is something I never dreamt of. Obviously Test cricket is the ultimate test, but just being out there and even afterwards seeing those special moments that you went through is really nice to see.