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Jansen’s love for batting helps ease pressure

Newfound consistency boosts Marco's case for 'all-rounder' mettle

Stuart Hess Sports reporter
While bowling is his primary job, Marco Jansen's output with the bat provides the critical balance the Proteas need ahead of the World Cup.
While bowling is his primary job, Marco Jansen's output with the bat provides the critical balance the Proteas need ahead of the World Cup.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Fortunately for the Proteas, Marco Jansen really enjoys batting because if not, the all-rounder role would break him. 

Jansen enjoys batting so much that net sessions, often a chore for most cricketers, are actually quite fun.

“I enjoy batting a lot more than bowling,” he said after a man-of-the-match performance in the final ODI against Australia in which he delivered emphatically in both departments. 

The Proteas won by 122 runs at the Wanderers to secure the series 3-2, having come back from 2-0 down.

With the bat, Jansen stroked an adventurous 47 off 23 balls, hitting four fours and three sixes. With ball he took 5/39, breaking the back of the Australian run chase.

Both efforts were career bests, and besides bringing a smile to the face of the 23-year-old, also indicated greater solidity for the Proteas in an area critical for the team’s balance. 

There is, Jansen acknowledged, “a bit more pressure” as the team’s frontline all-rounder but alongside that there is also excitement about how much impact he can have on a match. 

“It’s tough but nice at the same time. It’s a bit more responsibility, but it’s important to enjoy it.

“Luckily I enjoy batting, otherwise it would have been a tough job for me. I can express myself when I am batting. When I am bowling it’s like I have a real job to do.” 

That was made clear throughout the series with Australia. Jansen made important contributions with the bat in three out of the five matches and finished with an average of 33.50.

Before Sunday he was inconsistent with the ball, admitting that in the first two matches in Bloemfontein he was trying to swing the ball.

“That was my downfall. I was focusing too much on something that is not always going to be there. After Bloem I focused a lot more on hitting the wicket with a bit more energy.”

The better bounce on offer at SuperSport Park and the Wanderers provided Jansen with more assistance, but he’s aware that Indian pitches will be much different.

“It’s all about adapting to conditions. Your game changes in a certain way in different places. For me it is about keeping my mindset the same.”

 


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