South Africa’s Marco Jansen, who made his international debut in December 2021, has managed to stamp his authority in Test cricket in his first full year at this level. In just nine Tests, the left-arm paceman has claimed 41 wickets at an average of 19.73 and a strike rate of 36.1.
"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 said ahead of the Sydney Test against Australia on January 4.
The Proteas are currently in Australia playing a three-match Test series. They have already lost the first two encounters but Jansen made handy contributions in both those games.
In the first Test, the 22-year-old got the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Cameron Green and then also troubled Steven Smith in the second Test. On top of that, Jansen also slammed a fifty at the MCG.
"Think KG (Kagiso Rabada) 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."
South Africa have struggled big time in this series and now have very little chance of making it through to the World Test Championship final. They lost the first Test by six wickets and were then hammered by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne.
"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."