Home Sport Cricket Elgar happy to have Duanne Olivier back in the fold in Nortjé’s...

Elgar happy to have Duanne Olivier back in the fold in Nortjé’s absence

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Duanne Olivier has returned into the Proteas set-up just three years after he’d claimed he wanted to play for England. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

Duanne Olivier is in line for a recall to the Proteas starting team after Anrich Nortjé was ruled out of the entire three Test series with India on Tuesday.

Johannesburg – Duanne Olivier is in line for a recall to the Proteas starting team after Anrich Nortjé was ruled out of the entire three Test series with India on Tuesday.

Nortjé, South Africa’s leading wicket taker in Tests this year, failed to overcome a “persistent” hip ailment, and will consult specialists about management and treatment.

His misfortune, which is a massive blow for the Proteas, less than a week before the first Test, does however open the door for Olivier, the most potent bowler in the domestic Four-Day series this summer.

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In just four matches for the Central Gauteng Lions, Olivier has claimed 28 wickets at an average of 11.10.

Proteas captain, Dean Elgar, said there appeared to be no awkwardness from the other players in the squad about Olivier’s return into the national set up just three years after he’d claimed he wanted to play for England, given his then status as a ‘Kolpak player.’

“He’s played with a lot of the guys in the past, and there are a lot of his Lions teammates from the Four-Day competition here in the squad. The players have responded pretty well to him.”

With Kolpak falling away following ‘Brexit’ and Olivier’s dominance in the Four-Day tournament, Elgar said it only made sense to bring the 29 year-old back into the Proteas fold.

No bad feelings

“I want (to create) our best opportunity to win matches and series and in order for that to happen, you need to make tough calls, for instance bringing people back. I was very keen to have him back, I’m happy and excited to have him back, knowing what he can do on the field,” said the South African captain.

“There’s no bad feelings about what’s happened in the past.”

Olivier played the last of his 10 Tests in February 2019 against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park. His was an international career, which at that point, hinted at much bigger things to come as part of a potent group of quick bowlers, who were set to continue South Africa’s rich fast bowling tradition.

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Olivier picked up 48 wickets, with the highlight being the series against Pakistan in 2018/19 in which he claimed 24 wickets in three Tests.

“It’s nice to have him back, he adds a little bit of different intensity and energy. You can see he’s a different cricketer to what he was the first time he played for us,” Elgar commented.

“Obviously in his time away, he’s learned a lot, played a lot of matches in county cricket and gained a lot of experience. He’s bringing a lot of knowledge and experience into the change-room which is something that we need at the moment.

“He’s a match-winner, and if he wins matches for us, I’m all for having him back.”

@shockerhess

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