• Nortje: Pace, especially for me, is crucial

    Proteas star Anrich Nortje has outlined his ambition to continue being one of the genuine fast bowlers in world cricket.

    Nortje broke into South Africa’s limited-overs XIs last year and has since welcomed a Test debut. He was particularly challenged on that debut in Pune, India, where conditions were characteristically slow and flat.

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    ‘Pace, especially for me, is crucial. When you don’t have the pace, you have to focus so much on skill because it’s so difficult to teach someone pace at a later stage in their career,’ Nortje told ESPNcricinfo.

    ‘When times are tough, I want to put my hand up and try and make a change. I want to be the player that stands up when it’s 40 degrees and it’s flat. That’s how I see it.

    ‘If I look back a few years, in domestic cricket, we had a couple of guys in each team who could bowl 140 or 150km/h, but it changed so much. You hardly have guys who bowl 140-plus now, and so anyone who gets to is always being looked at.

    ‘When I try and put some extra effort in and see the speed gun and the ball flies through, that just gets a little bit of blood flowing again. It feels like it makes things interesting and you can do things you didn’t think you were able to. And then you can work on some extra stuff when you have the pace.’

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    The 26-year-old right-armer recorded a maiden innings five-wicket haul in January 2020’s fourth and final Test against England. The figures included the key dismissals of opposition captain Joe Root and all-rounder Ben Stokes.

    Anrich Nortje
    Anrich Nortje

    Tailender Nortje had been deployed as a nightwatchman in the series opener in Centurion and struck a steely 40 in a 107-run triumph for the hosts.

    ‘My first five-for was really special but my favourite moment was in the first game, when I helped the team with the bat,’ he added.

    Photo: Gallo Images

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