The stunning rise of Vernon Philander

  • May 19, 2017

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho, the Alchemist

Vernon Philander was given the opportunity to represent his country South Africa. A solid all-rounder who bowls right-arm medium pace and bats righthanded, was a member of the under 19 squad on the tour to England in 2003. He was to play in the ICC U19 World Cup that followed, which was held in Bangladesh. Philander has had stunning success in his first five months in Test cricket, reaching 50 wickets in only seven matches, the second-fastest ever in Test history. Philander hails from a country famous for producing high-quality fast bowlers, and he has done everything in his first few games to keep up that tradition. His strength isn’t sheer pace, but he has everything else going for him; the ability to swing the ball both ways at a sharp speed, and relentlessly attacking the stumps over long spells. His promotion to the Test squad was the result of consistent performances in the domestic circuit. He got a chance to play the home series against Australia in 2011 after taking 35 wickets at an average of 16.11 in the 2010-11 domestic seasons though he wouldn’t have anticipated the immediate impact he made.

Philander hails from a country famous for producing highquality fast bowlers, and he has done everything in his first few games to keep up that tradition.

The famous victory

He started with a Man-of-the-Match performance in his first Test, taking eight for 78, including a second-innings haul of 5 for 15, and helped South Africa to a stunning win in Cape Town. He followed it up with another five-for in the second Test, winning him the Man-of-the-Series award. The good times continued in his next two series as well, as he grabbed 16 in two Tests against Sri Lanka and then tormented New Zealand in the three Test away series. A Western Province player on the domestic front, ‘Pro’ had a short stint with Devon in 2004, and helped his team to a famous victory over Leicestershire. He has been a consistent and successful player for the Cape Cobras, his best season being 2006-07, where his batting average rose to 72 and with the ball, he touched 30. This instantly earned him a place in South Africa’s national team and he was included in the ODI side to face Ireland in 2007. There, an impressive show in the form of a four-wicket haul gained him a berth in the T20 World Championships. With an uncanny knack of landing the ball in the right place more than most, Philander is one of those bowlers who can bore a batsman out, bowling with consistency day in day out. Debuting with the red ball against Australia in 2011, Philander made an instant impression with his accuracy. Bagging eight wickets in the game, he helped South Africa to a comfortable victory that won him the Man of the Match award. That performance laid the foundation for more to follow and in the following six Tests, Philander fired past the 50-wicket mark making him the second-fastest in the history of the game. Ear-marked to be one of South Africa’s future stars, Philander has altogether added a different dimension to an already dangerous South African attack comprising of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. As far as the wickets-tally is concerned, Philander has just started. And one thing is for sure, his hunger for wickets is evident.

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