But­tler can ex­pect ‘hot re­cep­tion’

• Proteas speed­ster just wait­ing for the right mo­ment

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Alvin Reeves Port El­iz­a­beth SA fast bowler

Proteas speed­ster An­rich Nortjé says SA will wait for the right mo­ment to “rev it up” against Eng­land’s Jos But­tler when the third Test gets un­der way at St Ge­orge’s Park on Thurs­day.

Proteas speed­ster An­rich Nortjé says SA will wait for the right mo­ment to “rev it up” against Eng­land’s Jos But­tler when the third Test gets un­der way at St Ge­orge’s Park on Thurs­day.

Wick­et­keeper But­tler was fined and slapped with a de­merit point for call­ing SA all-rounder Ver­non Phi­lan­der a “f**king kn**head” dur­ing the sec­ond Test won by Eng­land at New­lands last week.

Some fans and pun­dits dis­missed it as part of the game‚ while oth­ers said But­tler‚ who apol­o­gised this week for his out­burst‚ was out of or­der.

It seems the Proteas may be lean­ing to­wards the lat­ter stance if Nortjé’s com­ments on Tues­day were any­thing to go by.

“I def­i­nitely think it gets one or two guys go­ing, but we haven’t re­ally spo­ken about it‚” said Uiten­hage-born Nortjé.

“It’s up to the um­pires and who­ever to sort out. It’s not re­ally some­thing you can say [on] a stump mic as well.

“But‚ it def­i­nitely does get the blood flow­ing and once we iden­tify a mo­ment we’ll prob­a­bly try and rev it up‚” said the War­riors spear­head.

Nortjé is clearly quite com­fort­able with be­ing handed the role of en­forcer and will be out to fur­ther as­sert his cre­den­tials in his first home Test.

The 26-year-old has played only four Tests, and in his most re­cent two pro­vided the fire­power for the home at­tack.

Af­ter the re­tire­ment of Morné Morkel the Proteas need some­one to ‚ful­fil the ag­gres­sor role. Nortjé has the means to do just that with his raw pace at 150km/h-plus.

“At this stage‚ any role I can do I’m happy with‚” he said. “Just to be play­ing is al­ready a big hon­our for me.

“What­ever the team needs or wants‚ whether it’s in­vest­ment or whether it’s strik­ing‚ I’m happy to do that for now.

“Some­times I do that role do­mes­ti­cally as well‚ so it’s noth­ing dif­fer­ent for me.”

Nortjé’s in­tro­duc­tion to Test cricket would have been jar­ring for him. One wicket for 179 runs in two Tests against In­dia, in Pune and Ranchi, would not have been the sort of de­but the speed­ster would have planned.

But Nortjé did not dig a hole. In­stead‚ he was handed an­other op­por­tu­nity, and came out fir­ing against the English at Cen­tu­rion in more fa­mil­iar con­di­tions.

An­rich Nortjé

He picked up the big wick­ets of Ben Stokes‚ Joe Root‚ Rory Burns and Jonny Bairstow and then made an in­valu­able 40 with the bat as a night­watch­man in a 91-run stand with Rassie van der Dussen to un­der­line his men­tal for­ti­tude.

He was ag­gres­sive and fast and con­tin­ued that in Cape Town. He be­lieves SA were not too far off the mark as a bowl­ing unit at New­lands.

“They re­ally bat­ted well in Cape Town. We were quite happy with our per­for­mance in Cen­tu­rion. It’s not re­ally red flags for us at this stage. We’ve been do­ing the same work‚ the same in­ten­sity.

“Not pick­ing up the 20 wick­ets [in the sec­ond Test]‚ yes‚ it might be a bit of a con­cern, but when we had the op­por­tu­nity we kept the run rate down. When Stokes and them started to go, it was a bit of a dif­fer­ent story.

“In gen­eral‚ we did the right things for long pe­ri­ods. It’s just a ques­tion of get­ting the ex­tra one or two wick­ets to get to the tail.”

And what of his de­but Test in Port El­iz­a­beth?

“I used to sit here on the grass em­bank­ments and watch the games‚” he said. “It’s been a lot of hard work over the years and a lot of sac­ri­fices‚ a lot of De­cem­bers in SA play­ing cricket rather than hav­ing hol­i­days.

“It’s nice to fi­nally get that op­por­tu­nity, and I’m re­ally ex­cited just to go out there and give it my best.”


/Shaun Roy/ BackpagePi­x

Lift off: A fired-up An­rich Nortjé is look­ing for­ward to his maiden Test at St Ge­orge’s Park, his home ground in Port El­iz­a­beth.

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