The young left arm South African fast bowler Marco Jansen was given his first test cap for the Proteas earlier today, as he started his journey in the longest format of the game against India at Supersport Park, Centurion.
Quite a few people were surprised that Jansen, despite having very little first-class experience, was preferred by South Africa over a seasoned first class campaigner Duanne Olivier, but Jansen is not a new name for the Indian cricket team, certainly not for the Indian captain Virat Kohli.
It was actually Virat Kohli himself who had scouted Marco Jansen when he bowled to him as a teenager during India’s previous tour of South Africa in 2017-18. Jansen was one of those local bowlers who were invited by the Indian team management to bowl to the Indian batsmen in the nets.
Despite being only 17 years of age at that stage, Jansen still managed to trouble Virat Kohli in the Indian nets, while the Indian captain was at the peak of his career and was churning out a hundred after hundred in test match cricket.
Virat Kohli was mighty impressed with the way Marco Jansen bowled to him in the nets
Kohli was so impressed by Jansen’s ability with the ball 4 years back itself that he had talked about the teenager in the Indian dressing room. Jansen was later scouted by the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians, who gave him his first IPL contract last season.
Marco Jansen is now a South African international player and while his bowling is in the limelight at the moment, very few people know that Jansen is also a very handy bat down the order. That might be one of the reasons why South Africa went with him rather than Olivier, as he will give them something with the bat at no. 8, apart from his bowling.
Jansen took a little bit of time to get into his groove in his first spell today, as he seemed a bit nervous initially, but as he settled into his rhythm, the left armer bowled some cracking good deliveries.