Enrique Nortje on comparison with Umran Malik

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South African pacer Enrique Nortje feels there is no competition between him and India’s Umran Malik to bowl fast in the ongoing T20I series. The rookie Indian pacer is still waiting to make his India debut, but his tremendous bowling in IPL 2022 has already made him a household name in the country. Meanwhile, Nortje, who returns to international cricket after November 2021, is focusing on winning matches for the team rather than bowling the fastest.

Nortje has been one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket over the years, but a hip injury last year took a toll on his form.

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However, the premier pacer has said that he doesn’t care about bowling the fastest delivery whenever he enters the field.

He said, ‘Yes, at this point of time I am not bothered about who is the fastest (bowler). It doesn’t really care who’s fastest and what’s the speed gun, it’s all about contributing to the team. When I train, when I’m not playing, you obviously think about the way you train, how you can be faster than what you’re doing. In the back of my mind, it will be something I will keep striving for but it is not something I think about going on the field,” Nortje said during a press conference on Thursday.

Nortje talked a lot about fast bowler Umran but said that they both want to win games for their teams and not compete to deliver the fastest ball.

“Umran Malik Very good bowler, very fast bowler. He has shown what he can do. If he accelerates, that’s great for him. If I go faster, that’s great for me. I don’t think we are at a level where we are competing to bowl the fastest ball, it is about winning the game and trying to contribute,” he said.

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Talking about his fitness, Nortje said that he is trying to get back to his 100 per cent where he was at the end of IPL 2021.

“No. Not now. Still working on it, still trying to figure out a thing or two. And body wise, just getting there. It’s going to grow slowly and slowly build it up.” It’s about. Not 100% where I want to be. I probably judge myself from where I was last year, the end of the IPL, the start of the World Cup so still trying to get there, Nortje said.

The 28-year-old further said that he would try to learn some valuable lessons from the tough times.

“It’s tough because some things are limited, some bowling is limited. You can’t always go out there and bowl 8-9 overs in a day, so it’s very limited. But so far, it’s been a good challenge, it’s something that will help me in the future. If there is a cough or bruising going forward, then there are some important things to be taken out of it,” he said.

Norther also talked about the Proteas’ bench strength as he praised pacer Lungi Ngidi, whom he looks forward to seeing on the field when given a chance.

“I think everyone is in good form, everyone is either playing in the IPL or training very hard back home. It’s nice to see that the guys who are on the bench are actually doing almost better than the guys on the pitch at some stage or the other. It would be really nice to see when they get a chance and how they go. I think Lungi Ngidi hasn’t played in a long time, very excited to see if he gets a chance and how he goes whenever he gets a chance,” he said.

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