Cricket

Marchant: IPL 1-game wonder

2012-02-08 14:40
Marchant de Lange (Gallo)
Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Clearly there is still no substitute for raw, grievous-bodily-harm pace ... even if you are going to have to ply your trade for a few weeks on notoriously unhelpful Indian pitches.

That much can be deduced from the Kolkata Knight Riders’ decision to snap up rookie South African express bowler Marchant de Lange in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) auction.

De Lange, the 21-year-old from Tzaneen, fetched $50 000: it was only his “base price” but nevertheless represented a remarkable bit of recognition for him, considering that many people back home will be close to gobsmacked that more established Twenty20 customers domestically like Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Richard Levi and Justin Kemp went unsold.

Tsotsobe has become more and more accomplished as a mix-it-up, strangling seamer in limited-overs cricket generally, many view Levi as heir apparent to one Herschelle Gibbs at Newlands for his boundary-seeking exploits at the top of the order – he is some 13 years younger than the old favourite – whilst Kemp may be getting long in the tooth but also still smacks an impossibly long ball when the mood grabs him.

Indeed, you could add Vernon Philander to the glaringly cold-shouldered list because not even 30 wickets in his first four Test matches for the Proteas this summer at an average of 13.23 could suitably impress the “judges”.

His crime? Probably just the fact that he doesn’t commit his devastation at any special rate of knots: he bags most of his scalps bowling at 130km/h or thereabouts in the corridor of uncertainty.

Yes, being fast and loose still gives you a better chance of earning your place at the lucrative IPL table, the possibility of blood on the popping crease or a helmet requiring an impromptu panel-beat luring people through the gate like Spaniards to a bullfight.

For while it is true that his first-innings 7/81 in lone Test appearance thus far, against Sri Lanka over the Christmas period, would have made observers worldwide sit up and take notice, De Lange’s T20 career is conspicuously limited.

No, make that jaw-droppingly limited – it amounts to precisely one game.

And it came not even in the franchise-level Pro20 competition; instead the unsexy-sounding CSA Provincial T20 Challenge, for Easterns against Free State on October 30 last year.

De Lange scored four not out off three balls, and then bowled a so-so spell, at least statistically, of 4-0-38-2 (wickets Gihahn Cloete and Rilee Rossouw) as his side succumbed by five wickets at Chevrolet Park in Bloemfontein.

It is not as though De Lange has much experience or an especially proven track record in the more extended form of limited-overs cricket, either: he sports 14 List-A appearances.

The paceman will be an intriguing wildcard at the IPL’s fifth edition, that’s for sure ...

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