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Ken Borland

Jansen or Olivier likely to join Proteas attack; Marco has earned his shot says Maketa

Posted on January 17, 2022 by Ken

It seems likely that Duanne Olivier or Marco Jansen will be joining Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje in the Proteas pace attack to take on India in their Test series starting on Boxing Day, and SA A coach Malibongwe Maketa believes left-armer Jansen has earned his shot at an international debut.

While the return of Olivier after nearly three years of being a Kolpak player has hogged the headlines – unsurprisingly given his outstanding domestic form – many observers of the SA A series against India A, that ended this week with the third successive draw, are extremely excited about a potential Test debut for Jansen.

The 21-year-old must have been a contender for the player of the series award that eventually went to leading run-scorer Sarel Erwee (251 @ 50.20). Jansen bowled much better than his final figures of six wickets at 31.83 suggest, and he also averaged 63.50 with the bat, producing some crucial lower-order runs.

“Marco is an unassuming guy in the way he goes about his business,” Maketa told Saturday Citizen on Friday, “he does the job without much fanfare. But his runs and his bowling ability have been invaluable.

“He’s been our aggressor with the ball, he’s the guy we’ve turned to to break partnerships. He had an unbelievable series and his call-up to the Test squad is very much deserved,” Maketa said.

Erwee is also in the Test squad but only likely to make his debut if one of the regular opening batsmen, captain Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram, suffer an injury or illness. But the left-hander was one of the SA A stars to send a clear message to the selectors that he has what it takes to succeed at international level, given he scored 38 and 41, and 75 and 97, in the last two matches against a powerful India A attack.

Paceman Glenton Stuurman is also in the Test squad, with the improvement he showed with the old ball pleasing Maketa and also showing the national selectors that he is progressing as a bowler.

Others to show their careers are on an upward curve were fast bowler Lutho Sipamla, who was the leading wicket-taker for SA A, and batsman Tony de Zorzi, who batted positively in accumulating 234 runs (second only to Erwee) at 46.80. Zubayr Hamza produced an outstanding unbeaten century in the last game, and Pieter Malan opened the series with a big hundred.

“To hold our own against a team of that quality showed that we need to keep investing in these players,” Maketa said. “It was a very good India A team and I’m pleased with our performance.

“In all the games we had opportunities to really put them in the corner, but we let those chances go, it was slightly disappointing that we let India A back in the game.

“But overall, I was pleased that we were able to get into those situations, that we gave ourselves those opportunities,” Maketa said.

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