Ottniel Baartman is one of two uncapped players named by South Africa in their 2024 World Cup squad – here’s all you need to know about the pacer.

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Baartman is a right-arm quick known for his death-over skills, especially his ability to nail yorkers regularly. He was the breakout star in the second season of SA20, helping Sunrisers Eastern Cape to defend their title. Baartman finished with 18 wickets at 11.77 and 6.95, the second-highest haul of the season behind Marco Jansen’s tally of 20. He took an impressive 4-10 in the first Qualifier against Durban Super Giants, giving them a direct route to the final.

As luck would have it, his peak coincided with a World Cup year, where bilateral fixtures were so scant that national coach Rob Walter made it clear that the SA20 and CSA domestic T20 challenge would play a role in the selection of the T20 World Cup squad. “Over the last couple of years, he’s been outstanding. But in particular, in the SA20, he was a cut above the rest. He really showed himself as a quality death bowler,” Walter said on Baartman’s selection.

Hailing from Oudtshoorn, a town in the South African province of West Cape, Baartman’s story is not of a typical South African athlete coming into the national team.

That’s partly because Baartman’s mother wanted his son to focus primarily on academics. “I had the opportunity to go to a private school but my mother did not recommend that,” said Baartman. “It was one of those things where they just focused on sport and not academics. For us, it was: you have to learn first before you can play sport.”

Still, Baartman’s love for the game continued in his native town until he moved to a bigger area to turn professional. He moved to Bloemfontein and stayed there for three years with the Knights, who didn’t renew his contract after 2019-20. So, he opted to change allegiance to the Dolphins from the next domestic season.

With 11 wickets at 10.09, Baartman was the leading wicket-taker in the CSA Provincial T20 Cup. He followed up his performance with 15 wickets at 14.40 in the CSA 2022-23 T20 Challenge, the second-most that year.

From 70 T20 appearances, Baartman has claimed 98 wickets so far at 16.97 apiece while going at 6.98 runs per over. His career-best 5-14 came while representing the Dolphins against the Warriors in the CSA t20 Challenge 2022-23.

Baartman is by no means a T20 specialist either: his List A (109 wickets at 27.16)  and first-class (61 at 23.11 and 4.76) numbers are equally impressive.

He received his maiden international call-up in South Africa’s 2021 Test squad for their historic two-match series in Pakistan, with his most recent one coming in the home series against India in December last year. He is yet to debut.

At 31, Baartman is already a seasoned campaigner despite being uncapped. The newest fast-bowling recruit for South Africa is a valuable addition to their already potent pace battery boasting guns like Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Gerald Coetzee.