Couldn't have asked for a better start, says Marco Jansen

by IANS |

Sydney, Jan 2 (IANS) Since his international debut in the Centurion Test against India in December 2021, Marco Jansen's stock as an all-rounder has gone up in the longest format of the game.

The left-arm fast-bowling all-rounder has been a great addition to South Africa's bowling attack in Tests, picking up 36 wickets in eight matches at an average of 19.02 in 2022. With the bat, he has shown glimpses of being reliable, especially when he registered a fifty against Australia in the second Test at MCG.

His stellar performances in 2022 meant Jansen has earned a nomination for ICC's emerging player of the year award. "It didn't start great, my first over in Test cricket went for 14 (12). I haven't really thought about it yet or reflected but it's gone way better than expected. Couldn't have asked for a better start, I guess," Jansen was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Though South Africa were defeated by an innings and 182 runs at the MCG, Jansen was one of the few bright spots, troubling Steve Smith a lot by making him play and miss on various deliveries at the MCG.

Asked about the same, Jansen revealed he got to know of him troubling Smith with his bowling when pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada informed of this in the middle of his spell.

"Think KG came to me and said, 'listen, Marco, keep going because he's not looking comfortable'. Think that was after my third over bowling to him. I didn't even recognise that he was, not struggling, but finding it a bit challenging and only after that I could see that I should shy away, keep going, keep going, hitting the hard length."

"For me, I always try and see moments and if I see a moment I go even harder in that moment. Whether that's with the ball, in the field or with the bat. So after KG came to me, that's when I realised that I can't just bowl a floater here, I have to keep on him because we might take a wicket."

At Sydney, South Africa will be aiming to avoid a clean sweep against Australia and keep their slim chances of qualifying for the World Test Championship (WTC) final alive. Jansen insisted that South Africa losing to Australia in Brisbane and Melbourne happened due to their inability to get hold of key moments in the match.

"It's making that mental shift and making a conscious decision to say I'm going to put my hand up and do whatever it takes to influence the team in a good way or get the team over the line. Personally for me, I know everyone gives their best, it's trying to figure out what we can do as individuals to influence the team in a good way or influence the game."

"Whether that's taking five blows to the body or bowling that seven-eight overs on the trot, sort of recognising the moment and doing whatever you can in your power to help the team into a good position."

"We have three Tests left until the final, obviously we want to win all three to give ourselves the best chance possible to get into the Test Championship final. So it's not like we are only going into this game thinking it's just another game and we cruise through it, there's still a goal, still a purpose."

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