Marchant de Lange: You need to be mentally strong to deal with injuries

Marchant de Lange, the South African fast bowler, is currently playing for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). De Lange burst onto the scene in 2011 when he took a seven-for on Test debut against Sri Lanka. Since then, the combination of injuries and the riches South Africa have in the pace department have played a part in keeping him out of international cricket as he has appeared in only a handful of matches. As he prepared for the semi-final against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, de Lange spoke to Nishad Pai Vaidya about the CPL, dealing with injuries etc.

Excerpts from an interview:

CricLife (CL): This is your first season in the CPL. How would you describe your experience so far? Also, how has it been with the crowds?

Marchant de Lange (MDL): It has been brilliant so far. The atmosphere is great and I am really enjoying it. Each country has got its own vibe. Here in the Caribbean, they love their cricket. There has been awesome support for the teams.
CL: Your run-up seems a different — a bit shorter. Also, there seems to be more energy in your delivery stride. Is that something you have worked upon?

MDL: I haven’t actually changed my run-up. It is the same distance. It is just running in and trying to be a bit stronger in the action. I’ve got a little bit of a problem following through. I am working on it day by day.
CL: What is it that is bothering you in your follow through? Are you stepping onto the danger area?

MDL: Basically it is just running in, staying strong in the action and then follow through, staying off the danger area and carrying the momentum through. Sometimes it is works, but at other times I feel a little bit stuck in the crease. That is more a rhythm thing.
CL: Since your international debut in December 2011, you have been hit by a few injuries…

MDL: Injuries are much better. I think all new, up and coming bowlers go through a phase where they suffer injuries — just getting the body through small niggles. As a bowler, you will have problems with your back. With all the fitness trainers around, we are really trying to work on a plan to space things.
CL: The fitness trainers take care of your physical state. But, how difficult is it psychologically for a young fast bowler to deal with such injuries?

MDL: Sometimes it does take a strain on you a little bit mentally. As a youngster you want to perform and stay on the park — be healthy and fit. But, mentally it was a little bit tough as I was away from the game for eight months with my back injury. Mentally you need to stay strong. I have got good family support and some good people around me. Mentally it is tough to go through it but it is just a phase. A lot of sportsmen go through it. It is about how you stay strong mentally to get through stuff like that.
CL: You face a semi-final game for the Guyana Amazon Warriors against Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel? How are things shaping up for the big day?

MDL: There are not much changes going on as to how we approach the game. We all know that it is a big game. All semi-finals are big leading up to the finals. We are doing our basics as a team and getting ready mentally as well. The conditions are overall similar — they aren’t many changes and the wickets are quite slow. We have got our plans in place.
CL: In the Guyana Amazon Warriors side, you have got to share the dressing room with big names. How has that been for a young bowler like you?

MDL: Coming into the CPL, I hadn’t played much cricket. It is good being around the likes of Brad Hodge and Sunil Narine. Lendl Simmons is here as well and I have played with him at the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL). It is a good atmosphere and a great learning experience for me.
CL: You have two spinners in the side — Sunil Narine and Devendra Bishoo. Both have done well. How do you adjust your strategies when there are bowlers like them in the side?

MDL: It’s been good so far. They have been taking wickets and have been brilliant as they build pressure. I also try to put pressure on the batsmen, try to break partnerships by getting wickets.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Mumbai-based cricket journalist and one of the youngest to cover the three major cricketing events — ICC World Cup, World T20 and under-19 World Cup. He tweets as @nishad_45)