Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortjé need to repay Proteas faith on West Indies trip

Proteas speedster Anrich Nortjé has not been at his best in the IPL since his return from injury. Photo: EPA

Proteas speedster Anrich Nortjé has not been at his best in the IPL since his return from injury. Photo: EPA

Published May 23, 2024


Beyond the T20I series trophy that will be at stake in the Caribbean this week, there is much more at stake for a number of Proteas players who are looking to make coach Rob Walter’s final World Cup squad.

Walter will have to submit his final squad by Saturday, and there are question marks surrounding certain players who are in the provisional squad that was announced last month.

We took a look at five players who will look to impress in Jamaica during the three-match series against the West Indies, which kicks off tonight at Sabina Park (9pm start, SA time).

Quinton de Kock

For many, De Kock walks into any XI in the world due to his invaluable experience and ability. However, the opening batter has been in a lean patch all year long, and given the short nature of the coming T20 World Cup (29 days), current form might just be more important than experience.

The provisional World Cup squad has two other wicketkeepers in Ryan Rickelton and Heinrich Klaasen, and both have been in impressive form this year.

Moreover, De Kock’s inclusion in the squad to face the West Indies this week can be looked at in two ways – as Walter’s decision to give him more game time to get back to form, or as one last trial to cement his spot in the World Cup squad.

Anrich Nortjé

Nortjé’s return from a lengthy back injury has been rather sour. The fast bowler struggled at home in the CSA T20 Challenge, and was not himself in the Indian Premier League either, as the 30-year-old leaked runs.

The one positive in his return has been his raw pace, the one aspect of his game that he has been able to maintain as the right-arm quick clocked 150km/h consistently in the IPL.

However, with 28-year-old left-arm fast bowler Nandré Burger just as capable of reaching the same speeds, Nortjé’s spot in the World Cup squad is not assured.

Bjorn Fortuin

There is no questioning Fortuin’s inclusion in the provisional World Cup squad as the spinner enjoyed success all season. His captaincy of the Johannesburg-based Lions carries weight, and tells of the value he brings to the national side.

He led the Lions to a second domestic trophy when they won the T20 Challenge last month.

However, given that there is Keshav Maharaj in the World Cup squad, another left-arm orthodox spinner, Walter might have to make a tough decision in order to open up space for a different spinner, batter or fast bowler to strengthen the group.

With Maharaj still on IPL duty, Fortuin has an opportunity during the West Indies tour to prove to Walter that he is World Cup material.

Rassie van der Dussen

After losing his spot in the T20I side last season, Van der Dussen has gone back to the drawing board and came back a much-improved player.

His only challenge was his strike rate, as he tended to score slower than what the shortest format demands.

A change in batting position from the middle order to opener seems to have worked wonders for the right-hander as he became one of the first batters in the world to reach 1 000 T20 runs this year.

A successful series in Jamaica for the 35-year-old could see him sneak into the final World Cup squad.

Nqaba Peter

At only 22, Peter has received a maiden national call-up. What makes this achievement unique is that spinners generally mature in their late 20s, and in some cases, their 30s.

Wrist spinners take even longer due to the difficulty of the skill.

During the T20 Challenge, Peter showed that he has mastered the skill as he displayed incredible control, an ability that even experienced wrist spinners struggle with.

Who knows? Should Peter have a concrete series, he could well find himself in the US and Caribbean for the World Cup.

Proteas Squad For West Indies

Rassie van der Dussen (captain), Ottneil Baartman, Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Matthew Breetzke, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Patrick Kruger, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortjé, Nqaba Peter, Ryan Rickelton, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi.

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