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Marco Jansen celebrates the wicket of Rishabh Pant with teammates Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram on the first day of the second Test against India at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Picture: LEE WARREN
Marco Jansen celebrates the wicket of Rishabh Pant with teammates Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram on the first day of the second Test against India at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Picture: LEE WARREN

Not only did Marco Jansen turn heads and see his stock rise dramatically internationally with his dream Test debut series, he also readily admits he was as surprised as many at his rapid ascent with the Proteas.          

The 2.09m tall Klerksdorp-born fast bowler was the find of the three-match Test series against India, won 2-1 by SA. He grabbed 19 wickets, the most in a debut Test series by a South African.

The 21-year-old was rewarded with inclusion in the ODI squad last week and woke up on Wednesday in Paarl to the news he was included in the starting team for the opening match.

The Proteas take on India in three ODIs, with the first two played at Boland Park in Paarl.

Never in his wildest dreams, said Jansen, did he think he would represent his country in the sport he grew up playing, let alone being counted among the Proteas’ top performers in a series.

“Obviously I have worked hard to get here and all that kind of stuff, but I just give everything to God and appreciate everything He has done in my life, because if it were not for Him I would not be sitting here today,” said the former Knights and current Warriors star.

Jansen remembers a time during his school days when he could not get a look-in from teams, but that did not deter him.

“If I look back to high school, especially, I did not play nearly as well as I would have liked and did not get picked for teams.

“So to be here and sitting where I am, all credit goes to God,” said the rising star of 22 first-class matches and 13 List-A appearances.

Jansen travelled across the Indian Ocean before his Proteas breakthrough as he featured for the Mumbai Indians in the last edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Identical twin brother Duan Jansen, also a left-arm seamer who turns out for North West, went along as a “support player” for Mumbai.

“We grew up together and know everything about each other. He is my best friend,” Marco said. “It is weird in some ways that we are basically the same and the same player if I can say it like that.

“Sharing the journey with him as well is something special. We love each other very much, we share everything.  We are identical. We are both left-arm seamers but we are not the same height. I am a bit taller than him. I am 2.09m and he is 2.05m.

“He came along with me to the IPL as a support player, or a net bowler so to speak. He basically practised with us [Mumbai Indians] and all the guys and he learnt a few things there as well.

“It was a great experience for him and for us together.  It is amazing. We never would have thought that we both would be where we are today and playing the sport we love — just sharing the experience and the journey with each other.”

Jansen thanked his parents for supporting him and his brother.

“They are both very proud of us and they support us all the way. They have supported us with everything they could to help us in any way they could.”

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