Proteas coach Ottis Gibson believes Anrich Nortje fits snugly into his pace attack.
The Proteas have not been shy to admit that their bowling attack is their strength. Their dominance with the ball is obvious, and when you have the likes of Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir in your side, you definitely won’t be short of pace, bounce, movement and wickets.
Add Andile Phehulkwayo’s accuracy and Tabraiz Shamsi’s variations to the mix and you already have a daunting bowling unit.
Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped the Proteas from identifying more talent to add to what is already a devastating bowling unit.
With the departure of Duanne Olivier, who signed a Kolpak deal with Yorkshire, the Proteas handed Nortje an opportunity to throw his name into the World Cup selectors’ hat.
After impressing in the Mzansi Super League for the Cape Town Blitz, the the 26-year-old had a serious injury that put him in a moon boot for a couple of months.
He finally got his chance to debut in the first ODI against Sri Lanka and made a clean transition from domestic cricket into international cricket.
The Proteas entrusted the speedster with the middle overs throughout the Sri Lanka series, and he did not fail to deliver, taking eight wickets in four games.
It’s not only Nortje’s raw pace that jumps out. His ability to take wickets and to bowl with control is impressive, and he could be a ‘wildcard’ in English conditions if selected to the World Cup squad.
As confirmed by Gibson, the Proteas used the ODI series’ against Pakistan and Sri Lanka to Test one or two players. One of these was Nortje, who impressed his coach again during the Proteas 5-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka.
‘He’s come in and done really well, so he will surely be in the conversation at the moment,’ Gibson said at a press conference on Monday.
‘I thought he did really well in the series. Even on Saturday again, last game of the series, he bowled really well and complemented the other bowlers we had.
‘One of the things that we always look at when we put together a bowling unit are guys that can get wickets in the middle overs.
‘Him bowling, first change with pace in those middle overs, he is surely a wicket-taker.’