Bjorn Fortuin Deserves More

Performance Review

Taken in isolation, none of Bjorn Fortuin’s recent performances wouldn’t warrant a headline, but his efforts with the ball underwrote the Lions’ surge to the T20 Challenge.

Bjorn Fortuin of South Africa during match two of the 2023 T20 International Series game between South Africa and Australia (Pic – Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix)

Fortuin had a few factors working in his favour during the lowkey franchise T20 tournament but did enough to convince selectors that he would be an asset in the T20 World Cup and on the T20s against the West Indies which precede it.

The squad for the T20s against the West Indies has an experimental air with several key players rested for the trip. Fortuin makes that group and will likely play a key part in that series with no Keshav Maharaj in the group.

However, Maharaj has been named in the T20 World Cup squad which Cricket South Africa has submitted for the tournament.

That puts Fortuin in an interesting position given how team selection will go for that tournament with Tabraiz Shamsi still the clear first-choice spinner for the Proteas.

It is difficult to imagine a scenario where the Proteas field three spinners in a T20I.

Fortuin is billed as an all-rounder but hasn’t shown much with the bat in his brief international experience to date. He also wasn’t in sensational form wielding the willow in the T20 Challenge.

The T20 Challenge saw Fortuin consistently bank figures that any captain would be happy to accept from a left-arm spinner.

Fortuin had the third-best economy rate in the event and second-best among bowlers who bowled in ten or more innings across the tournament.

He would not capture more than two wickets in a single match but still ended the tournament with 18 wickets taken.

Fortuin was a banker for the Lions which has driven him into the Proteas squad but there are questions about whether he will even be allowed to attempt to do the same in green and gold.

His international experiences so far amount to a few matches, a couple of tours, and quite a lot of drinks carried.

The value of a bowler like Fortuin will not be evident if he isn’t allowed to play just about every match of the Proteas campaign. Considering his international reputation when compared with Maharaj and Shamsi this is a scenario that probably won’t play out.

Fortuin might be able to replicate similar performances in isolated chances to impress but he isn’t likely to catch the eye and have fans and pundits clamouring for him to play.

If Fortuin can bowl consistently well against the West Indies he should be given his chance to contribute to an effective T20 World Cup campaign.

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