Philander raring to go ahead of busy season

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Vernon Philander, who marked his return to the South Africa ODI side with a solid performance in Wednesday's 20-run win against New Zealand in Centurion, says he is refreshed and motivated ahead of a busy international season.

Philander was rested for the ODIs against Bangladesh last month and this was the right-arm seamer's first ODI since the World Cup semi-final against the Black Caps in March.

The 30 year-old Cape Town-born player has a big part to play as the Proteas face tours to India and an incoming tour from England when they are finished playing the Kiwis.

Philander said: "I'm excited. It's a big year coming up for us as a team starting with this series against New Zealand. We like to win series' at home and away but I think India and England are going to be big later on in the year.

"As a squad we are excited about it; it's another big challenge going to India and playing England at home."

The Proteas' player management strategy seems to be yielding positive results as seen by the strong performances of Philander, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir after breaks from their respective formats.

On Wednesday Philander and Steyn started off the innings brilliantly with control and intensity while Tahir worked his magic in the middle overs to stave off the Black Caps' onslaught.  

This was Philander's first time he has played under the new ODI rules implemented in June.

He said: "The extra fielder out helps massively. It gives you more options in the backend; you can bowl your slower-ball bouncer or the hard bouncer because you have the extra guy out.  

"It's a lot more difficult for the batsman to line up certain shots because of that extra fielder. You can plan a legside or an offside field and execute what you have been training."

The second ODI in the three-match series against New Zealand takes place in Potchefstroom on Sunday.

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