While no-one dares to think about what’s next in South African cricket’s batting aisle, at least we know there is some bowling depth and left-arm paceman Marco Jansen has to be one of the most exciting prospects in world cricket.
The 22-year-old Jansen has taken 40 wickets in just eight Tests, at the great average of only 18.00. He has taken four wickets in an innings four times already. Add to that the promise he has shown with the bat – averaging 18.36 – and he is clearly a superb package as a cricketer.
Which is why his Proteas teammate Kagiso Rabada, already established as one of the great fast bowlers of the era, rates him so highly.
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“Marco has that x-factor, he’s just a natural bowler. It looks like you could wake him up at 3am and he can do what he’s been doing,” Rabada said.
“He’s naturally gifted – he has pace and height, he can swing it, nip it and get bounce, and he’s a leftie. What more do you want?
“He’s also got the mindset for fast bowling. Not a lot of people really possess that, but he’s got it. Marco is a pretty rare, exciting prospect.”
Jansen possibly only played in the first Test against Australia in Brisbane because the Proteas were willing to sacrifice a batsman, and he certainly made the most of his guest starring appearance with 3/32.
On the opening day he claimed the wicket of the world’s No.1-ranked batsman, Marnus Labuschagne, caught in the slips off his first delivery, and on the second morning he had both top-scorer Travis Head and the dangerous Cameron Green caught behind the wicket in the space of three deliveries just when the Proteas had handed control back to Australia with a messy start.
But Jansen could miss out on the second Test starting on Boxing Day in Melbourne simply because of the pressure that is on the tourists to strengthen their truant batting line-up. Rabada called for patience when it came to the Proteas batting.
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“Our batting line-up is quite inexperienced. Our whole team is if you look around at other teams in the world. Dean Elgar (80 caps) is the most experienced, followed by myself (56) and Temba Bavuma (52), and everyone else does not have much experience,” Rabada pointed out.
“It can be frustrating as a team, but we need to understand that this is what happens in a rebuilding phase. When I debuted, I played with an outstanding line-up, greats of the game, which doesn’t happen that frequently.
“Our batsmen have the ability, they just need to get used to international cricket. There’s an element of patience that is needed, but I am not advocating bad performances. But we are still quite positive.
“It looked quite bad for the batsmen at the Gabba, the ball was doing absolute heaps. But we will never go down without a fight.”