- Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene revealed that they scouted South African left-arm paceman Marco Jansen for three years before signing him in 2021.
- Jansen made his IPL bow during Mumbai’s two-wicket loss for RCB last Friday, where he scooped 2/28.
- The 20-year-old was also on the Proteas selectors’ radar after being picked to tour Pakistan in January.
One of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) rare finds, gangling South African Marco Jansen, was scouted by the Mumbai Indians for three years before they bought him for 2 million Indian Rupees (R387 000) at the 2021 auction.
Mumbai head coach Mahela Jayawardene told the Hindustan Times about how their scouting group was intent on getting unidentified talent to join them and focused their eye on the 20-year-old South African when he was just out of Potchefstroom Gymnasium.
The Warriors left-arm fast bowler stands at over 2m tall, runs in with a rangy stride and has proven himself an incredibly fast developer since making his first-class debut for Eastern Province against North West in 2018.
Jansen took 2/28 in his IPL debut for Mumbai against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and was entrusted with the final over where AB de Villiers and Co. aimed to get seven from the last six balls for victory.
"We have a group of individuals who work throughout the year, watching games, spotting players. Not only locally but we do have the same kind of network overseas as well.
"It’s not just instant decision-making. Marco Jansen is a classic example. We have monitored him for the last three years," Jayawardene told Hindustan Times.
"Then he was a 17 to 18-year-old. We kept monitoring him and picked him the same time he was picked for South Africa (Test squad for Pakistan in January).
"I don’t think there are secrets to scouting. It’s just pure hard work and finding the right people who have the ability to pick talent.
"You have to trust their instincts and their hard work needs to be acknowledged. It’s a process.
"For me, it’s brilliant to have that input coming in, knowing that they are turning each and every stone to find this talent. We monitor them and when we decide we need to invest in them, we go ahead and do that."
When Jansen was called up as Ottniel Baartman’s replacement for the Proteas' tour to Pakistan in January he was the second-leading bowler in the CSA 4-Day Franchise Series at the time, with 21 wickets at a 20.71 average.
He eventually finished with 23 wickets in six matches at 26.43.
It’s clear that Proteas selectors, headed by selection chief Victor Mpitsang, haven’t missed a beat either when it comes to putting Jansen on their radar.
The Mumbai Indians are the most successful IPL team having won the tournament five times since its 2008 inception and are the two-time defending champions that are looking to three-peat this year.
Mumbai face Kolkata Knight Riders at 16:00 on Tuesday.