New Zealand to play William O’Rourke with no caps on Neil Wagner in second Test against South Africa

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William O'Rourke, Neil Wagner


New Zealand Test captain Tim Southee has revealed that the Kiwis are in line to hand a debut Test cap to 22-year-old speedster William O’Rourke in the series concluding second Test against South Africa at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

William O’Rourke is a talented right-arm fast-medium bowler who has gained a lot of prominence due to his excellent performance and numbers in the New Zealand domestic circuit. Veteran Tim Southee, who will participate in the 98th Test match of his career starting tomorrow, stated that the youngster has a lot of potential and has all the conditions to become a top-level player in the near future.

The Kiwis fielded 3 pacers in their first Test, they won against South Africa by a huge margin of 281 runs. However, in the second Test, they are expected to have 4 fast bowlers due to seamer-friendly conditions on a grassy track in Hamilton. A decision will be made tomorrow and the draw will be between O’Rourke and Neil Wagner.

The first Test was an absolutely one-sided contest which was ruled by Kane Williamson with his consecutive centuries in innings at the Bay Oval, while Rachin Ravindra amassed a sensational 240 off 366 deliveries in the first innings to set up 511 runs.

South Africa’s inexperienced batting line-up could not even score 200 runs as they were folded for just 162, thanks to a collective effort from Matt Henry (3), Kyle Jamieson (2), Mitchell Santner (3) and Rachin Ravindra ( 2). In the third innings, New Zealand declared 179 and set a mammoth target of 529.

The visitors, riding David Bedingham’s 86 and 30 with the bat of Zubayr Hamza and Ruan de Swardt, were left with just 247, while Kyle Jamieson recorded figures of 4/58. The tension in South Africa is expected to rise further in the second Test and it will definitely be a good opportunity for William O’Rourke to make his Test debut against a third-rate team.

“He’s in 13th place. It’s great to be able to make those decisions. Will is an exciting talent and has had a taste of international cricket, and I’m sure he too has a bright future at the highest level. His strengths are obviously his height and his ability to extract rebounds,” Tim Southee was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

‘It’s not much different’, Southee compares William O’Rourke to Kyle Jamieson

William O’Rourke has a decent first-class record of 50 wickets in just 15 outings for Canterbury in New Zealand’s domestic red-ball circuit. Those closest to the Surrey-born pacer are well aware of the raw pace he generates, the tight lines he picks up and the enormous height that helps him have a high release point.

Tim Southee had high praise for O’Rourke’s ability as a bowler and also compared him to the tall Kyle Jamieson.

“Being a big, tall guy, he’s not much different to Jamieson. He also has ball skills. He has the tools to be a very good bowler and I am sure that he will be someone who will thrive at this level,” Southee concluded.