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Ken Borland


Nortje says his role is to provide energy for the Proteas team

Posted on October 10, 2022 by Ken

Fast bowler Anrich Nortje says his role is to provide energy for the team and his high-octane burst of three wickets in two overs certainly vitalised the Proteas on their way to their fabulous innings win over England at Lord’s, completed in just three days.

Given that Nortje was consistently around the 150km/h mark, and according to some analysts produced the fastest bowling seen in England for a decade, there must have been a temptation for him to launch a fearsome bouncer barrage on the batsmen. But where the home side erred in bowling too short to the lower-order, Nortje can credit a much fuller length for his success.

“I’m very happy with the way things happened, I didn’t come here expecting that,” Nortje said. “I was just really happy to be bowling with the red ball again, it was so nice, having seen a lot of the Test team on TV.

“We have an unbelievable attack, we all cover different aspects. So well done to all the bowlers, especially KG Rabada, who bowled unbelievably well and got himself on the honours board, so that must be a great feeling.

“My job is to just try and get some energy and momentum on our side when things are tough. It’s about the conditions on the day and what they allow. If things are more spicy, then I just try to hit a length.

“But generally I just try and bring some energy, generally later on in the innings. You need to get yourself up at the right stages and I just try to execute as much as possible,” Nortje said.

While Nortje said he would spend his two days off “doing a bit of exploring London”, he was also not worried about travelling a bit on the field either, given his role as a strike bowler. The 28-year-old’s three wickets on the final day came at a cost of 47 runs in just seven overs, and his 3/63 in the first innings came in 13 overs. So overall he conceded 110 runs in 20 overs, a rate of 5.5 runs-per-over, but the six wickets are what is important.

“I wasn’t happy at the start, so I tried to rev myself up, which took two or three overs. Fortunately I got a nick and then you just try and run with it,” Nortje said.

“Stuart Broad smashed a few around and sometimes the right ball still goes to the boundary, and then the captain is in your ear saying ‘it was a good ball, don’t worry, keep going.’

“You have to just think on the spot, read the situation. But Dean Elgar is quite straightforward, if you’re not bringing your A-game then he will tell you. We need that, he doesn’t beat around the bush.

“At stages he tells us it’s not good enough, but he obviously encourages us as well. He allows me to be myself and express myself, and I really enjoy having him as captain and his honesty,” Nortje said.

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