DC quick Anrich Nortje, who has been the talk of the town post registering the fastest IPL ball in history, has termed Dale Steyn his hero and has stated that the 37-year-old is the greatest Proteas cricketer he’s seen. The speedster is further hopeful of breaching Shoaib Akhtar’s 161.3kph barrier.
A tall and fearsome fast bowler who had his breakthrough in international cricket in the Test series versus England, Anrich Nortje initially went unsold in the IPL auction, but was then roped in by Delhi Capitals as a replacement for Chris Woakes. That Nortje would be a handful in UAE conditions was something everyone knew, but the monstrous impact the 26-year-old has had in the tournament has left the cricketing fraternity shell-shocked.
With 12 wickets in 9 games, the right-armer has, arguably, been the pick of all overseas quicks, but more than his numbers, it’s his pace that has mortified batsmen, with him, a couple of games ago, clocking the fastest IPL ball in history at 156.22 kmph.
Nortje hailing from South Africa has meant that there have been obvious callbacks and comparisons to another Proteas great, Dale Steyn, and in an interaction with his Capitals teammate Ravichandran Ashwin, the 26-year-old revealed that he considers the veteran his ‘hero’, and termed the 37-year-old the greatest South African cricketer he has seen.
“Definitely Dale Steyn (the greatest South African cricketer I’ve seen). Growing up, he [Steyn] was in the area where I was watching cricket. He's definitely one of the best. Watching that fire, energy, skill and consistency he brought to the game was unbelievable,” Nortje said in a video interaction with Ashwin on the latter’s YouTube channel.
After impressing with his consistency in the first seven games of the IPL 2020 season, Nortje carved a niche for himself in DC’s eighth game of the season versus Rajasthan Royals, where he clocked the fastest ball in IPL history. In an over filled with fire, Nortje bowled four deliveries over 152 kmph, one of which was recorded at 156.2 kmph, the fastest ever in the IPL.
These mind-boggling numbers have, understandably, created boundless buzz surrounding the pacer, and so when asked if he has his eyes on breaking Shoaib Akhtar’s record of 161.3 kmph, Nortje revealed that should everything fall into place, it could very well happen some day.
"Hopefully it's something I've got in me and it's definitely something I've wanted to do. Maybe a good wicket, some adrenaline, the right combination and I can do it this IPL or maybe in the future."