Nortje in race for World Cup selection

ANRICH Nortje bowls during the IPL match in Bengaluru. | IANS

ANRICH Nortje bowls during the IPL match in Bengaluru. | IANS

Published Apr 7, 2024


TODAY Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje will play his seventh match since returning from a back injury that saw him spend almost six months on the sidelines. The 30-year-old will be running in for the Delhi Capitals at the Wankhede Stadium when they face Kwena Maphaka and Gerald Coetzee’s Mumbai Indians at noon.

Nortje’s first outing upon returning from injury was in the Cricket SA T20 Challenge last month where he played three games at St. George’s Park before leaving to join his Indian Premier League teammates in Delhi.

In those three games, Nortje has returned figures of 0-12 against the Tuskers, 1-28 against the Rocks and 1-42 against Western Province.

In all games the right-arm quick did not seem to have found rhythm or control, something that is expected from a fast bowler returning from such a serious injury.

More of the same has happened in the three games that the 30-year-old has played in the Indian Premier League as he returned figures of 1-48 against Rajasthan Royals, 0-43 against Chennai Super Kings and 3-59 against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Before the injury, Nortje was not only one of the fastest bowlers in the world, but also one of the most economical quicks on the T20 circuit.

It is still early days in Nortje’s return to play, but perhaps not early days as far as making a case for his selection into the T20 World Cup squad. There are other quicks who are also competing in the IPL and are in good form, all of which might put Nortje at the back of the pecking order.

Nandre Burger has made a strong case for himself to be included in the T20 World Cup squad as he has been one of the fastest bowlers in the IPL thus far and is a direct competition for Nortje in the Proteas side.

All this puts Nortje in a race against time to find form quickly in order to make the World Cup squad.

Beside Nortje, other South African quicks in Maphaka and Coetzee will also be on show in Mumbai today as the two youngsters have been consistent starters in the Mumbai Indians playing XI.

Maphaka, only 17 years-old, has responded well to the pressure of playing in such a big league while Coetzee has more or less done the same.

It will be an all South African affair at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai today as the players look to impress T20I coach Rob Walter ahead of the selection of the squad for the World Cup that will be held in the US and the Caribbean in June.