CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s bowling coach Charl Langeveldt believes there is plenty of emerging talent on the horizon to keep the Proteas’ fast bowling cupboard stocked up for the next few years.
There has been great concern recently that the Proteas’ traditional chief strike weapon may be blunted in the coming years due to the spate of retirements and Kolpak defectors.
Over the past two years the Proteas Test side has lost Morne Morkel, Duanne Olivier, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander. Prior to their departures Kyle Abbott and Hardus Viljoen also left South Africa for greener pastures, while the most recent Dane Paterson is due to leave for England should county cricket resumes after COVID-19.
Although the Proteas are still able to field a high-quality fast bowling unit in the form of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Lutho Sipamla and Beuran Hendricks, the lack of quality back-up in domestic cricket is a reality. Langeveld is not fazed, though, as he believes there is a new generation ready to take on the mantle.
“We’ve been looking around the country for young and upcoming bowlers. You always have to have replacements if somebody gets injured,” Langeveldt said. “Guys like Lifa Ntanzi, and Gerald Coetzee and Glenton Stuurman from the Warriors. These are the guys that are going to be the back-up for our national team.”
Stuurman (27) is the most experienced of the trio, but is a rather late bloomer having only recently burst on the franchise scene. The right-arm seamer played six first-class matches for the Warriors last season, claiming 18 wickets at an average of 25.33, including a best of 5/72.
However, it is the teenage duo of Ntanzi (18) and Coetzee (19) who are the real exciting talents. Ntanzi missed out on his big chance to show a broader audience his talents when he was forced to withdraw from the SA Under-19 team that participated at the World Cup on home soil last season due to injury.
It was hoped that Ntanzi would make a similar impact for the Junior Proteas like Rabada did back in 2014, when he spearheaded his team to the title in Dubai. In Ntanzi’s absence, the Junior Proteas failed to progress to the semi-finals.
Coetzee, though, played in the youth tournament and impressed with the searing pace he was able to generate. The Free State youngster had already been in the spotlight after his hugely-impressive Mzansi Super League debut for the Jozi Stars against Cape Town Blitz at Newlands.
Unfortunately for Coetzee, he too unfortunately broke down with a hamstring injury during the MSL.
The injuries these young fast bowlers are already picking up so early in their careers will trouble Langeveldt. He would have been hoping to put in a prodigious amount of work in helping them to strengthen both physically and mentally at a six-day bowling camp scheduled to start on Sunday.
However, the camp has now, of course, been postponed due to the national lockdown South Africa is currently experiencing.
“There’s a few out there and these are the guys that will be the back-up for the national team and they are the ones we want to see,” Langeveldt said.
By Zaahier Adams