Proteas impressed by fiery Coetzee

The fiery fast bowler, Gerald Coetzee, sends the former Windies captain, Jason Holder, packing during the 2nd Test at the Wanderers. PHOTO: CRICINFO

The Proteas are impressed with the young ITEC Knights fast bowler, Gerald Coetzee, after the two-Test series against the West Indies that was played in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

The 22-year-old made his eagerly anticipated senior national debut for South Africa in the series and he didn’t disappoint. While Coetzee took his first wicket at SuperSport Park, it was at the Wanderers where his class came to the fore.

At the Bullring, Coetzee took 3/41 in the first innings and 3/37 in the second innings for match figures of 6/78. This took his tally up to nine wickets in the two Tests, while with the bat he contributed 40 runs.

The Proteas Test coach, Shukri Conrad, who was instrumental in unleashing the aggressive fast bowler, believes they have something good brewing with Coetzee.

“The way he took on the mantle of being the leading quick with Kagiso Rabada at Centurion, and bowled behind KG, Anrich Nortjé and Marco Jansen, it was probably an easier role.

“But here in Johannesburg, he stepped up and when I chatted with him after the game, he was really disappointed in his performance. He felt that he was better than that.

“If that’s how the young man is going to react, then I think we are onto something good.”

The Proteas captain, Temba Bavuma, in his turn believes that with his pace and aggression, Coetzee adds an extra dimension to their already outstanding bowling attack.

“With the batting there have been concerns, but with our bowling we know that if those guys click, we always have a chance within the game. A guy like Gerald adds an extra dimension within our bowling attack. He brings us pace and he brings us aggression, and that’s exactly why we brought him into the squad.”

Coetzee is in the One-Day International and T20 International squad as well for the upcoming series against the West Indies.

Sadly, for the Knights, it’s unlikely that Coetzee will continue to play for them as he has already been linked with a move to the Titans. With the Knights being relegated to Division 2, it will be an affordability issue, while the youngster will also need to play in the top-flight of domestic cricket to advance his career. That said, Coetzee has served Free State cricket with distinction and he now needs to spread his wings. – MORGAN PIEK