His Delhi Capitals pace partner Kagiso Rabada might be sitting on top of the wicket-takers' list, but Anrich Nortje has undoubtedly been a standout performer in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League. While he has 12 wickets to show for his efforts, what has stood out is how he has adapted to the conditions in the UAE.
Speaking to , the Proteas pacer threw light on acclimatising to the conditions, bowling to the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, being around a young and energetic DC outfit, and adapting to the saliva ban.
With an economy rate of 7.75, Nortje has been top-class even as he has come up against some of the best T20 players in Kohli, Rohit, and AB de Villiers. But the pacer has impressed most with his line and length and says that it is more about working on own strengths rather than focusing on who is at the batting crease.
"Try and keep it simple. It is not about the players and more about what we need to do and try and focus on the plan. Better the player, more you have to focus. A good length is a good length and then work around our strengths and see where we can beat them and try and get them out. Even to Rohit, a good line and length will be difficult to play as long as we can hit the mark," he explained.
Talking of strengths, Nortje has been good when it comes to surprising the batsmen with bouncers. Asked if that is a major part of his arsenal, the pacer said it is something he likes using.
"It's just something that I use. No point bowling just six full balls every time. You need to push the batsmen and make them aware of what you have whether they get out that ball or next ball but it is a weapon you have to use as a fast bowler. You cannot let them just lunge forward every time, especially in T20 cricket it makes life so much easier," he said.
In fact, even though the wickets were expected to primarily help spinners, pace bowlers have done well. But Nortje feels spinners are slowly coming into the picture as the IPL moves towards the business end.
"I think they are going to play a massive role later in the tournament. Conditions a little bit tough when you hit the good length. In general, I think if you bowl a good line and length there is a lot offered by the wicket and you don't need to do too many things. I think we just try to keep it as simple as possible," he said.
The young DC unit has been brilliant and the camaraderie is there for all to see. Nortje said it has been fun being around the group.
"On the field, we try and bounce ideas off one another but off the field, we speak a lot of nonsense and have fun. In general, we have some good banter. Nice having a young team. Lot of 24-26 year-olds. Really nice being around the group. There is a lot of experience as well even though it is a young group. Everyone is from a different condition and background so just try and see how everyone goes about it. Ricky (Ponting) is also pretty good and calls a spade a spade. Not a lot of cliches are used," he smiled.
Finally, a word on the much-talked-about saliva ban. Nortje has an interesting take. He believes the change of balls has in some cases impacted games rather than the saliva ban.
"I am not one to get a lot of swing, so not really for me. I think the ball getting replaced can be a good thing and a bad thing rather than the saliva. Sometimes we can get used to a ball and then it goes for a six and we get a new one and sometimes it might be harder or softer and that can have an impact on the game. But the saliva hasn't been so much of an impact for me," he signed off.
( With inputs from ANI )
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