Marco Jansen is not an unknown name for the Indian fans. In 2018, the then-17-year-old, who travelled to the Wanderers Stadium along with his twin brother Duan, had beaten India Test captain Virat Kohli outside the off-stump with his left-arm pace in the practice sessions ahead of the third Test at Johannesburg, leaving the right-handed batter impressed.
“It’s an incredible feeling to know that you’re bowling to the best batsman in the world. He (Kohli) only said after the third ball, ‘Good ball’,” Jansen had said to Cricbuzz that time.
Duan, who was present there at the practice sessions, had spoken positively of his twin. “Yes, Marco beat him more today than yesterday. I think yesterday, he noticed some of his – not weaknesses – but where to put the ball more in his area. I think he bowled nicely today.”
Three years later, Jansen continues to trouble Indian captain as he picked Kohli’s wicket in visitors’ second innings total of 174. Not only Kohli, Jansen had 4/55 in 13.3 overs to end with figures of 5/124 in his debut Test match. The 21-year-old from Klerksdorp had earlier bowled to India ‘A’ cricketers when they came for four-day matches tour in 2017.
Their father, Koos, talked highly of his twin sons’ encounter with then India A coach Rahul Dravid, revealing that they had taken pictures with the legendary batter. “They had profile pictures with Dravid for I don’t know how long. They would keep showing it to everyone and it is obviously a matter of great pride for me because Dravid is a legend and when he tells my boys to keep up the good work, it means a lot.”
Jansen also travelled as a member of South Africa’s Test side to Pakistan earlier this year but he didn’t feature in the playing XI. But, now his initiation to Test cricket at Centurion was a bit tough as opener Mayank Agarwal hit him for 12 runs in his first over in the longest format of the game. In that innings, he tried to find the right length and by the time he found his groove, he took out Jasprit Bumrah for his maiden Test scalp.
The pacer was on a hat-trick at the start of India’s second innings when his first ball got Agarwal’s wicket. Though he didn’t get the hat-trick, Jansen took out Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and closed the innings by clean bowling Mohammed Siraj to complete his first four-wicket haul in Test cricket.
With the bat, Jansen made a 42-ball 19 while coming in at number eight and shared a stand of 37 for more than ten overs with Kagiso Rabada to provide some lower-order resistance for South Africa in the first innings.
Jansen is also one of the rare players who made their IPL debuts before entering international cricket. He played in two matches for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021. It wasn’t his first trip to India, though. In 2019, Jansen travelled to the country as a member of the South Africa ‘A’ side. With Kohli’s wicket, life did turn a full circle for the promising all-rounder.