Cape Town — Proteas legend AB de Villiers has offered his batting expertise to Sunrisers Eastern Cape all-rounder Marco Jansen and likened him to Shaun Pollock.
The 22-year-old was named ICC Men’s Emerging Cricketer this week after an outstanding breakout season of international cricket.
Jansen has made a similar impact in the Betway SA20 with his breathtaking innings of 66 off 27 balls (3x4, 7x6) against MI Cape Town at Newlands changing the course of the Sunrisers’ season.
De Villiers, who is enjoying his first stint as a television commentator at the Betway SA20, has been hugely impressed with Jansen.
However, the former Proteas skipper believes the lanky Jansen’s primary weapon remains his skill with the ball, but he is willing to help the young star improve his batting.
“He’s batted very well. He’s bowled very well. He’s had a couple of fantastic seasons. Another player I never heard of, and in that one IPL season he rocked up, and the people told me he’s South African. I didn’t even know that,” De Villiers said.
“That’s the beauty of scouting. You see all these IPL teams scouting players from nowhere.
“Marco, in my opinion, I do still believe he’s a bowling all-rounder. If he feels differently it's great for him. He has a fantastic opportunity to contribute with both bat and ball.
“I think of the best all-rounders … (Ben) Stokes … Jacques Kallis back in the day … there was nothing more rewarding for them than to contribute with both skills.
“We have seen Marco Jansen perform with the ball in hand at Test level, and you don’t just rock up and do that.
“In my opinion, he is a bowling all-rounder. Make sure your bowling is up there with the best in the world. As you saw someone like Shaun Pollock, he scored a few Test hundreds and he contributed in every format of the game.
“That will be important for Marco and ensure that his top skill is among the best in the world. Use the experience of players around … use me … to give you batting tips, but make sure you keep that focus on bowling.”
Jansen is currently on duty with the Proteas’ in the three-match One-Day International series against England that started on Friday in Bloemfontein.