Blisteringly quick Anrich Nortje back for Warriors
Talented fast bowler makes welcome return after ankle surgery
Highly rated fast bowler Anrich Nortje will return to boost the Warriors for their clash against the Highveld Lions in a Momentum One-Day Cup fixture at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Wednesday (1.30pm).
Nortje, 25, has been out of action with an ankle injury since November 25 and has since had surgery on the troublesome joint. His unfortunate breakdown came just a week into the inaugural Mzansi Super League.
His blistering pace and control for the Cape Town Blitz impressed fans and pundits and it was disappointing to see his tournament cut short. But he returns ready to play having tested his fitness in a provincial game for Eastern Province at the weekend.
“I’m really excited to be back. It’s been almost three months. “I just want to get out on the park and start playing again. I had a game on Sunday for EP to bowl the overs so I’m really excited,” Nortje said.
“It was quite nice to have a bit of a break but since the end of December and through January I was a bit irritated. “I worked hard, but you can only gym and do that much during a period like that. So, it was quite frustrating.”
Nortje has only recently been thrust into the national spotlight but he has, in fact, been a quality Warriors seamer for some time. Sadly, the injury came at a time when he was being touted to debut for South Africa against Pakistan in the recently completed Test series.
According to those in the know, Nortje was ahead of Duanne Olivier in the Test selection stakes. But with Nortje out of action, Olivier seized the moment and took 24 Pakistan wickets in the three-Test series.
“I’m really glad for Duanne. He did unbelievably well and it’s good to see that there are a lot of South African fast bowlers to pick from again.
“I want to try and make a statement but obviously not push too hard. “I know I have been frustrated by everything but I must take it as it comes and just focus on the process now.”
Nortje was impressed with what he saw from his team-mates in their opening day victory over the Cape Cobras on Friday.
“We bowled really well. Obviously, there are going to be one or two overs that go for runs but I think we stuck to our guns and to the plan.
“I thought Gihahn [Cloete] batted very well. If we can do the basics right for the rest of the season, I think we’ve got a good chance.
“We’ve got a good bunch of guys. Everyone knows what their role is, even the guys who made their debuts.”
And what of Wednesday’s opponents, the Lions?“Every game is going to be a challenge, there are no easy teams. So, it’s going to be the team that does the basics the best for the longest time.
“Especially at the Wanderers where there is a small margin for error.”
Jon-Jon Smuts (capt), Gihahn Cloete, Matthew Breetzke, Lesiba Ngoepe, Mohammed Vallie, Sinethemba Qeshile, Lutho Sipamla, Christiaan Jonker, Sisanda Magala, Anrich Nortje, Thomas Kaber, Andrew Birch, Onke Nyaku.