South Africa speedster Anrich Nortje remained out of action for five months with back and hip injuries, which saw him miss the multi-format home series against India, followed by two Tests in New Zealand and home ODIs and Tests against Bangladesh, in the period after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE.
The 28-year-old was allowed to continue his rehabilitation with Delhi Capitals ahead of Indian Premier League 2022, and was declared fit to feature in the side’s third game. However, he had to wait for another month to play again and finished the competition with nine wickets from six outings and an economy of 9.71.
Nortje has been delivering at decent speeds in the ongoing T20I series against India, and has returned with decent figures of 1/36, 2/36, 0/23 and 1/21 from the four games, respectively.
The right-arm quick is keen on getting back to his best, which he feels hasn’t happened since his return.
“I am still working on it, still trying to find one or two things, and body-wise also I am not 100% yet where I want to be. It’s just about slowly increasing and slowly building it up.
I would probably rate myself from where I was last year in the IPL and at the start of the World Cup, so I’m still trying to get there,”he said.
Nortje had clocked 156.2kph during Delhi’s run to the final in IPL 2020 – the fastest ball in the competition since 2012. That speed was surpassed by Umran Malik (156.9kph) and Lockie Ferguson (157.3kph) – the latter doing so during Gujarat Titans’ seven-wicket win in the final.
As for Nortje, the primary focus extends beyond the speed gun.
“At this stage, I’m not bothered too much about who is the fastest and what the speed gun says. It’s about what I can contribute to the team.”
The five-match series between the Proteas and India is now leveled at 2-2. The fifth game will be played at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on June 19.