Having set the stage on fire in IPL 2020 with his searing pace, Delhi Capitals speedster Anrich Nortje has finally drawn the attention of the world after having been somewhat of an unknown quantity earlier on. He bowled the fastest delivery of IPL 2020 at an astonishing 156.2 kph – something which is not a common sight these days. He has picked up 20 wickets from 14 games for the Capitals and has been a vital cog in their successful season thus far.
It is rare to see a bowler setting the speed guns on fire these days with hardly a few bowlers left in world cricket who can go bowl above the 150 kph barrier continuously. Thus it was amongst IPL’s highlight reels when Nortje bowled an entire over the fancied mark against Rajasthan Royals and rattled through Jos Buttler’s stumps with a missile of a ball that was measured at 154.8 kph.
In an exclusive interview to DNA ahead of their crucial Qualifier 2 game against SunRisers Hyderabad, Nortje finally spilled beans on the secret of his express pace. He said that a bowler generates the speed when he follows the basics correctly and builds the rhythm.
“There’s no rocket-science behind it. It’s all about hitting the right length and keeping it simple. I think the pace is something you build when you are in the right rhythm. When you’re managing to get all your basics right, the pace is generated. Be it your run up, or your delivery stride and even your release, I think it’s a combination of all those things and I’m happy to have been able to bowl fast on a consistent basis. More importantly, I have also hit the right areas. I also believe in order to get the desired results, you need to have proper planning before executing anything and should not shift your focus, whatever the conditions are,” Nortje revealed.
The 26-year-old has had his fair share of injury issue – a price that express fast bowlers often have to pay. Nortje was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders for IPL 2019 but missed out his debut IPL season with a shoulder injury. The ensuing surgery also kept him out of the grandest stage of them all – The World Cup of 2019. Nortje didn’t shy away from admitting that it was a tumultuous time in his life.
“It was very unfortunate that I missed out on my debut IPL season. But injuries are part and parcel of the sport. I was more focused on making a comeback as soon as possible. However, there were setbacks which also jolted my chances of making it to the World Cup squad. It was a little tough and challenging for me at that moment. However, I did not panic. I was just focusing on recovering and made sure I did it right. When you have such injuries, as a fast bowler, it’s always good to give it time and not rush into coming back,” Nortje said.
The South-African pacer has formed a formidable pace attack at Delhi Capitals with his compatriot and another express pace bowler, Kagiso Rabada. While Rabada is one of the most premier bolwers in the game today and is always in the reckoning for the Purple Cap – Nortje is happy in playing second fiddle to Rabada and has acted as his able deputy for Delhi Capitals. Rabada is currently second on the charts with 25 wickets form 15 games but Nortje opined that it is Rabada’s death bowling-craft that he wants to emulate.
“KG and I have a little different approach towards the game. Since he has a lot of experience bowling in the death overs, I try and learn as much as possible from him. We speak a lot during nets sessions and even on the field, I try to pick up stuff from him. He has mastered the art of bowling yorkers. I think I’m gaining experience as well as learning constantly while playing with him, which would help me in the South Africa set-up as well,” Nortje said.
While Delhi Capitals started their tournament in emphatic fashion, hovering around at the summit of the table throughout the league stages, it is fair to say that they lost their way in the latter stages, having lost five of their last six games. Nortje, however, believes in the Never Give Up philosophy and is keeping his spirits high ahead of the make or break tie.
“I think the core of our team is full of youngsters who are determined to be future greats. We have some very commanding veteran players as well. But above all, each individual has this ‘Never Give Up’ attitude and it has been the key behind our successful run in the tournament so far. We’ve had some ups and downs, but we’ve stuck together and just want to finish with two wins now,” Nortje said.