I really want to be an all-rounder, says Gerald Coetzee

Gerald Coetzee in action during a training session.

FILE - Gerald Coetzee in action during a training session. Photo: Cricket South Africa

Published Jun 6, 2023


Cape Town — South Africa A may have lost to Sri Lanka A by seven wickets in the second unofficial ODI on Tuesday, but they could’ve unearthed a raw diamond in Gerald Coetzee.

The fast bowler showed that he possesses the potential to develop into a fully-fledged all-rounder with a classy 77 off 89 balls (6x4, 2x6) at the Pallekele International Stadium.

Coetzee has previously wielded the willow with freedom in two Tests against the West Indies last summer, and also for the Joburg Super Kings in the SA20, but Tuesday’s innings was completely different.

Firstly, it came up under real pressure with SA A’s top order withering away in the Sri Lankan heat and humidity once again, leaving the tourists perilously placed at 42/7 when Coetzee arrived at the crease.

It was a disastrous situation with only the last remaining specialist batter Tristan Stubbs to keep him company.

And just like the first “ODI” when Dewald Brevis and Beyers Swanepoel went about the repair job, Coetzee and Stubbs rebuilt the visitors’ innings with a 111-run partnership for the eighth wicket to lift SA A to 175 all out.

The 22-year-old even initially outscored his more senior batting partner Stubbs, who was eventually dismissed for 59 (88 balls, 1x4, 3x6).

“It was a lot of fun,” Coetzee told Independent Media from Sri Lanka. “Different conditions than what I am used to, but I enjoyed the challenge.

“My plans worked very well at the start, while he (Stubbs) was getting used to everything. But as soon as he got into his gears, he caught up quite quickly after I had reached my 50, and he actually went past me.

“It’s completely different to back home. The pitches bounce differently, their bowlers are different. The temperature and the humidity also plays a big part. So, it's all quite new for a young cricketer to experience the subcontinent.”

Having missed out on securing a IPL contract this past season, Coetzee spent the last few months working tirelessly in the gym to physically prepare his body for the rigours of having to bowl fast and contribute with the bat if required.

Equally, he has called on a number of coaches to help reinvigorate a passion he has had since his school days.

“I batted in the top order my entire school career. It was only when I started playing SA Under-19 that I moved down the order. I have always enjoyed my batting. It really is something I like doing,” Coetzee said.

“Maybe at the start of my career, I did not work on it as I should have. But lately I have been spending a lot more time on it. I really want to be an all-rounder.

“The situation demanded that I bat like a top-order batter. Sometimes batting at No 8/9, you have to adapt to the situation that you come in, which is most often that you need to tee off.

“Today was a nice opportunity to bat long, but there was also the extra pressure of knowing that there weren’t too many wickets left.

“In that situation, where there is plenty of time left, but very few wickets, you almost just have to bat as long as you can. Stick to your game plan, your shots, and bat as long as you can, until you have a good foundation to take the game forward again.”


IOL Sport

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