IND vs SA: Anrich Nortje is a big player for us, we expect him to perform accordingly, says Temba Bavuma
IND vs SA: Despite a disappointing time in the Indian Premier League, South Africa white-ball captain Temba Bavuma backed bowler Anrich Nortje to play a key part in the T20 International series against India on Wednesday.
Nortje hasn’t played for his country since the T20 World Cup last year because of a hip issue. After missing the first four games of the IPL, the fast pacer returned to play for Delhi Capitals. He wasn’t at his best, though.
“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.
“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 played was earlier this year, when hosts South Africa won five of the six matches on a visit that included three Tests and as many ODIs.
Bavuma and his team, on the other hand, will be up against a younger, different-looking 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 temperatures in Delhi exceeding 43 degrees, the South African captain admitted that dealing with the heat has been difficult for his side.
“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.”
Over time, India pace bowling squad has improved, and the team no longer reliant on its spinners.
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 has been in the city since last week, allowing them to become acquainted with the playing surface. And Bavuma believes the hitters will benefit from the track.
“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 captain stated that the Proteas’ goal moving into the World Cup is to improve their batting.
“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 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 an opportunity so that we get consistency within that batting lineup.”