Nortje excluded from Proteas contract but Nkwe confident he will return

Anrich Nortje, in action for the Warriors in the T20 Challenge last week, has chose not to sign a national contract with CSA for the next year.
Anrich Nortje, in action for the Warriors in the T20 Challenge last week, has chose not to sign a national contract with CSA for the next year.
Image: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

Ace fast bowler Anrich Nortjé “opted out of” a national contract with Cricket SA (CSA) for the next 12 months, saying he wants to focus on the T20 format for the rest of the year. 

Nortje, 30, told CSA director of cricket Enoch Nkwe he wants to work on his strength and conditioning after an extended period out of the game when he injured his lower back in September last year. That injury saw him miss the World Cup and the rest of the home international summer.

He only returned to full-time play at the start of the month, turning out for his provincial team, the Warriors, in three matches in the CSA T20 Challenge. After the birth last week of he and his wife Micaela’s first child Nortje headed to India to fulfil his IPL obligations with the Delhi Capitals.

“He has not retired from Tests,” Nkwe said. “He opted out of a contract because he wants to manage his body. For now he wants to focus on T20s but we will reassess his position for ODIs and Tests later this year.” 

Nortje has played 19 Tests and taken 70 wickets and was a member, albeit briefly, of one of the most devastating fast bowling quartets of the modern era with Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen and Lungi Ngidi. 

However, injuries and the Proteas limited Test schedule left him asking questions about his long-term future in the red ball format. “We have to respect the process he is going through,” said Nkwe, who added CSA would work with Nortje on a management programme.

“If everything goes according to plan, after the [2024/2025] season we can look at the way forward. He said he still wants to play Test cricket and we have respected his request. He will still be available for the T20 World Cup.

He didn’t put up the level of performance required
Enoch Nkwe on Keegan Petersen

“We trust the player and I am comfortable he is not retiring from the international game,” said Nkwe. 

Nortje, with Wayne Parnell, Sisanda Magala, Quinton de Kock and Keegan Petersen, did not have their national contracts renewed, while Dean Elgar has retired. CSA announced a list of 18 contracted men’s players, down from 20 last year.

Nkwe said De Kock’s retirement from Tests and ODIs precluded him from earning a contract. It has been speculated that the T20 World Cup in June will be his swansong in the national jersey but Nkwe wasn’t ruling out a return. “We will touch base with Quinton after the T20 World Cup,” he said. 

Parnell is no longer part of the national plans while Magala’s ongoing knee ailment has put an end to his season. “He’s got another two months of rehab he still needs to complete,” said Nkwe.

Petersen will need to go back and find his confidence at provincial level, with Nkwe saying the 30-year-old’s absence from the contracted list of players was purely performance-based. “He didn’t put up the level of performance required.” Petersen has played 14 Tests but made the last of his four half-centuries two years ago. Since then he has gone past 40 three times in 12 innings. 

Nkwe said David Bedingham, who has made a century and two half-centuries in seven innings since making his debut against India on Boxing Day, was close to earning a contract. “We have had lots of discussions about him. He is strongly in our [future] plans.”

Nandre Burger, Tony de Zorzi and Gerald Coetzee were the newest recipients of national contracts among the men, while Eliz-Mari Marx and Ayanda Hlubi, who impressed in Australia, were the only two new recipients of contracts in the women’s team.

Nkwe said Marizanne Kapp, who had signed on with CSA until the 2025 ODI Women’s World Cup, would be closely monitored to help manage her body. “She will miss a few T20 matches but she plays enough of that format anyway. Her big goal is the 2025 World Cup and we need to help her get to that.”

Proteas men’s contract squad 2024/2025 

Temba Bavuma, Nandre Burger, Gerald Coetzee, Tony de Zorzi, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen.

Proteas women’s contract squad 2024/2025

Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Ayanda Hlubi, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Suné Luus, Eliz-Mari Marx, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Chloé Tryon, Delmi Tucker, Laura Wolvaardt.


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