Philander eyes Champions Trophy

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Vernon Philander will bolster the Cape Cobras in the Momentum One Day Cup match against the Warriors at Buffalo Park in East London on Wednesday.

The soft-spoken and under-stated Philander said although he would like to represent South Africa in as many formats as possible, his first and primary goal is to aid the Cape Cobras in their quest to win the game.

Philander said: “I am not focusing on the wickets column and on how many wickets I take. It is about the team and getting them to a positive result.”

Philander has been sensational upon his international recall since August 2016, taking 33 wickets in eight tests. His tally included 5-21 against Australia at the Bellerive Oval and 5-45 in the first Test against the Sri Lankans in Port Elizabeth.

He was named as man of the series for his contribution with bat and ball in the 2-1 drubbing of the Baggy Greens.

Philander said the dream of representing South Africa in One Day Internationals is still alive. “Of course I would like to play for South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy in England,” he said.

He said much is made of how long the white ball can swing, but it is also important to nip it.

Philander has the ability to nip the new ball both ways off the seam and to retain that skill for a prolonged spell. He can bowl at 130 km/h, but it’s the late movement both ways that get the edge or trap the batsmen in front.

Because he is shorter than bowlers that had similar abilities before and who also operated with enormous accuracy like Shaun Pollock and Glenn McGrath, many of the deliveries that nip back, strike the pad or the wickets, and don’t bounce harmlessly over the wicket.

Asked about why he had been so successful upon his return, Philander said a great factor was that his prolonged absence due to injury made him so much hungrier to perform. He always knew he possessed the skill, but that hunger was an added incentive to take five-wicket hauls.

Philander has captured 159 wickets in 40 tests and 41 wickets in 30 One Day Internationals.

But the 31-year old Ravensmead Wrecker is keen to return to South Africa in the shortened format.

A great four- or five-wicket haul at Buffalo Park against the Warriors won’t harm his chances for an international re-call in the shortened format.

Cobras squad: Dane Piedt (Captain), Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, George Linde, Aviwe Mgijima, Tshepo Moreki, Justin Ontong, Vernon Philander, Omphile Ramela, Jason Smith, Stiaan Van Zyl, Dane Vilas (W/Keeper)