IPL 2020: Anrich Nortje Goes All Out, Thanks to Ricky Ponting's License to Freedom

Delhi Capitals (DC) coach Ricky Ponting's virtual carte blanche encouraged fast bowler Anrich Nortje to go all out and bowl the fastest delivery in the Indian Premier League history (IPL), revealed Vijay Dahiya, head talent scout of the franchise, on Thursday.

  • IANS
  • Updated: October 15, 2020, 10:36 PM IST
IPL 2020: Anrich Nortje Goes All Out, Thanks to Ricky Ponting's License to Freedom

South African Anrich Nortje clocked three of the fastest deliveries in IPL history, the fastest being 156.2 kmph, against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday.

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"The word floating around our team is freedom. You give people the freedom to go out there and be confident about it," former India wicket-keeper Vijay Dahiya said.

"From day one, Ponting has been emphasising with everyone that we give batsmen and bowlers that freedom to express themselves. By nature, Nortje is someone who goes out and bowls fast. There are no instructions to bowl fast. You cannot ask everyone to bowl fast. If you have genuine pace, then obviously you'd like to give that," said the former Delhi captain.

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That is what Nortje, playing in his first IPL season, is doing.

Nortje came into Delhi Capitals squad after Chris Woakes pulled out of the league in August 2020. The speedster was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders last year for Rs.20 lakh but couldn't play due to a shoulder injury.

"There are a few things when you seek a replacement. Speed is one thing but you know he is an international cricketer as well. The management was keeping a good eye on him. Everyone knew he had pace. When you are looking for pace, you look for an out and out fast bowler," Dahiya said.

The fact that his opening bowling partner at Delhi Capitals, Kagiso Rabada, also plays for South Africa is working well. "Having Rabada from the same team also helps. It is a great understanding between the two; both are helping each other out," he points.

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Nortje made his international debut in all three formats only last year. Although he has been playing first-class cricket since 2013, he burst onto the firmament and got noticed in his home country only in 2018 while representing Cape Town Blitz in the well-televised Mzansi Super League (MSL).

South Africa gave him the international cap in all three formats last year as they were looking for a replacement for Duanne Olivier, another pace sensation who had opted to go to England via Kolpak, as the qualifying route to represent England is called.

Nortje though has been prone to injuries throughout his first-class career. He had to give up rugby, a fierce contact sport after he broke his collar bone as a 17-year-old. Then throughout his cricket career, he has been struggling with injuries that forced him to miss last year's IPL or having his MSL season in 2018, where he made waves, cut short.

Even his entry into the top-level first-class cricket in South Africa, the franchise cricket, from the second rung provincial first-class competition was delayed by a couple of injuries in the lower back and umbilical hernia.

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Dahiya says the emphasis on fitness lies on an individual player and informs about the amazing work ethic of Nortje.

"Luckily, because of the Covid-19 situation, the DC camp was almost three-week-long, you got into a rhythm. Nortje's work ethic is phenomenal. It brought that confidence in him. He has done well. Also because of Covid, you got more time to pay emphasis on your fitness and work on areas that require fitness. There has been less international cricket in the last six-seven months so that gives you enough time to recover and get strong," said Dahiya.