Marco Jansen is undoubtedly one of the Proteas’ most valuable players in India. The 23-year-old sky sweeper – he stretches the tape measure to 2.06 m – regularly hits sixes towards the end of an innings, while also taking wickets in the important powerplay phase.
It will not surprise one if he, along with Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen and Aiden Markram, is one of the first names that coach Rob Walter fills in on his team list for an upcoming match.
His ability to tip wickets at the start of an innings makes him one of the top bowlers in the World Cup tournament. Only Sri Lanka’s Dilshan Madushanka has currently sent more batsmen back to the dressing room than the Potchefstroom native.
Yet it is his attacking batting that excites cricket lovers.
Jansen often lays in the long stem when he is in front of the goals. His unbeaten innings of 75 runs played a decisive role in the Proteas’ spectacular performance against England and teammate Klaasen sang his praises.
“Marco played excellently. He told me that I must not walk off the field until I have scored a hundred,” Klaasen said after scoring 109 runs in the match.
But which does the star all-rounder prefer – to bat or to bowl?
“I love batting and it’s something that gives me a lot of joy,” Jansen told Cricinfo.
“Of course I also enjoy my bowling a lot, but it requires a bit more work. You can’t always get away with everything and it’s not fun to see the ball sail over the boundary line when things don’t quite go according to plan.”
However, taking 16 World Cup wickets is an excellent achievement and Kagiso Rabada believes that his teammate has natural bowling talent.
“He bowls excellent lengths and he can swing the ball in any direction while also possessing a dangerous delivery. In addition, he has a very natural action and he just makes things look easy on the field,” said the Protea fast bowler.
Jansen will be an important link in the Protea team for Sunday’s game against India. It was precisely as a 17-year-old that he made Virat Kohli and co tick when he bowled for them in the nets on their tour to South Africa.
- Jansen’s World Cup stats:
Batting: 143 runs in six innings at an average of 47.66 and a strike rate of 128.82.
Bowling: 16 wickets in seven matches at an average of 20.06 and a strike rate of 20.6.