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Who is Dirk Nannes?

April 27, 2009

In the flurry of cheerleading and team-owner interviews, every now and then some cricket manages to grab my attention. No matter how boorish the pre-toss hoopla, how fawning the commentators, I can’t help but be interested when the new-ball bowlers are running in. For one or if we’re lucky, two magical overs, the contest between bat and ball is at its fairest. Note that this doesn’t apply to the likes of Sehwag or Gilchrist but run-of-the-mill opening batsmen with half-decent hand-eye coordination.


The pitch, for all the ‘expert’ analysis that usually goes “looks like a good surface…some hint of movement early on…might slow up later in the day” is still an unknown, the batsman isn’t quite sure how quick the ball is going to come off the deck, and the odd deflection of the delicious new seam might ruin the batsman’s day.


And so, I was watching some game where one team wearing red and silver was playing against another wearing blue/red/yellow. The first delivery from the left-arm bowler hit high on the bat, with the batsman still on the move. Interest piqued, I looked for the speed reading and sure enough, it said 144 kph. That’s nearly 90 miles an hour! A speed that Shoaib Akhtar managed legally about four times in his ten year career! Now, while I wouldn’t put it past Modi to rig the speed guns to show slightly higher numbers, average new ball bowler speeds at the IPL have been in the late 120s to early 130s. I actually turned to face the tube to then see the bowler deliver consistently above 140kph for the rest of his two over spell. I had to know more about this bowler who to my knowledge isn’t on any international side.


He is Dirk Nannes and he’s Australian. His cricinfo profile says cricket was an afterthought, his true interest is skiing. Not like it is for someone who downloads wallpapers with snow on them, but in the way it is for someone who is almost good enough to be selected for the Olympic team. Granted it’s the Australian winter Olympics team, which is like saying, the Jamaican bobsled team…oh wait. Anyway, once he decided to play cricket he did pretty well with 89 wickets in 22 first class games at a strike rate of 44.3


Unless he has a horrible ticker (which is highly unlikely given he’s a skier) that doesn’t allow him to bowl spells longer than two overs at that very uncomfortable pace I don’t understand this guy not being on the Australian ODI/T20 squad, atleast. I mean, I have nothing against the likes of Hilfenhaus and Hauritz, but Dirk looks like a bowler who can skittle sides on his day. I can think of more than Indian middle-order batsman who would spend his night worrying about being exposed by Dirk’s extra pace.


With the overdose of medium-pace “wicket-to-wicket” tripe, it’s refreshing to see some good pace that can break a few bottom hand fingers. Now, if only he can stay fit and keep sending shudders up bat handles, might make a few Daredevil games fun to watch.

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