IND vs SA: ‘More Anrich Nortje Plays, Closer he Will Get to Levels He is Capable of’ – Temba Bavuma


South Africa white-ball skipper Temba Bavuma on Wednesday backed pacer Anrich Nortje to play a major role in the T20 International series against India despite an underwhelming Indian Premier League stint.

Nortje was out of international action since the T20 World Cup last year due to a hip injury. The express pacer turned out in the IPL for Delhi Capitals after missing the initial few games. However, he was far from his best.

“Anrich is a big player for us, an integral part of the bowling unit. When he joined the IPL he had come off a huge layoff due to injury”, Bavuma said on the eve of the first T20I against India here.

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“But the more he plays, the closer he will get to the levels he is capable of. He is an important member of the team and we expect him to perform accordingly,” he added.

The last time the two sides met, hosts South Africa won five out of the six matches during the tour comprising three Tests and as many ODIs earlier this year.

However, Bavuma and Co. will face a different-looking, younger Indian side.

“It’s an exciting series. We faced an Indian team recently but this is a different-looking side. There are a lot of younger fresher faces. Guys who would like to prove themselves and stake a claim to positions within the Indian team.

“They won’t be short of any motivation. We are not thinking things will happen the same way as they did in SA.”

With temperature rising above 43 degrees in Delhi, the South African skipper conceded dealing with the heat has been challenging for his team.

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We expected it to be hot, not this hot. Fortunately, the games are being played in the evening. At night, it is more bearable. The guys are trying to keep themselves hydrated. Keeping themselves as mentally fresh as they can.

“(The hardest thing) has been coping with the heat. It is not something we are used to back home. Hydration, cramping, and fatigue are big things. We can only get used to it by playing in this heat,” the visiting captain said.

And unfortunately for us, we are doing it in competitive cricket.

The Indian team has strengthened its pace bowling unit over the years and is now no longer reliant on its spinners to do the job.

Asked if this changes how South Africa prepares for a series against India, Bavuma said: The Indian bowling attack covers all bases. They cover the quicks and the spin. In terms of preparation, the focus has not just been only on spin but pacers as well.

South Africa have been in the city since last week, giving them a chance to familiarise themselves with the pitch. And Bavuma feels the track will assist the batters.

We played a practice game. We played on a side wicket. It was a bit lower than what we are used to back home. It didn’t really spin as much, looked better to bat on as the night went on.

The skipper reiterated the Proteas’ aim to further make their batting solid, heading to the World Cup.

“Within our batting line up, that (batting) is an area we’d like to get solidity in. Quinton and myself at the top, in the middle order, the guys are quite settled.

“Tristan Stubbs will get an opportunity somewhere along the line. In the games we play till the World Cup, we’ll give the guys opportunity so that we get the consistency within that batting lineup,” he added.

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