Proteas bowling coach Charl Langeveldt suggested that Vernon Philander would be ‘perfect’ for the ICC Champions Trophy squad.
The Proteas, who play Sri Lanka in a final ODI on Friday, will head off to New Zealand to face the Black Caps in a T20, ODI and Test series which ends 25 March. They will then travel to England for three ODIs against the home side in preparation for the ICC Champions Trophy which starts June 1 in London.
Since the injury of Dale Steyn and the departure of Kyle Abbott the Proteas have struggled to find a consistent opening partner for Rabada. Langeveldt has expressed this as a major concern for the side. Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius and Chris Morris have all been tested with the new ball during the Sri Lankan ODI series, but they have not yet arrived at a final decision as to who should fill the void.
Langeveldt has suggested that Philander, who hasn’t played an ODI since August 2015, will be the perfect selection for the upcoming Champions Trophy in England. The 31-year-old has played 30 ODIs and has taken 41 wickets at an average of 24.04.
Philander formed part of the 2015 World Cup squad and only managed four wickets in three games, which included the defeat to New Zealand in the semi-final. His selection for the semi was met with criticism, as Philander replaced Abbott who had collected nine wickets in four matches prior to that match. Philander took no wickets in his eight overs against the Black Caps, and many believed that the decision to replace Abbott was the reason for SA’s semi-final exit.
Speaking to reporters at Centurion on Thursday, Langeveldt remained convinced that Philander has the attributes to be a useful ODI bowler.
‘In English conditions, if it’s overcast, he (Philander) will make the perfect guy to play,’ said Langeveldt.
‘He is struggling with an injury, so that’s a concern for us, his workload is a lot because he has played a lot of Test cricket.
‘He does fit our mould if youare looking for a guy with the new ball that will bowl you five overs up front.
‘So we looking for all possibilities, it’s not tried and tested, he has played in previous World Cups, so it’s just up to the captain and selectors what they want at the end of the day.’
The ICC tournament will run from June 1-18, with South Africa facing Sri Lanka in their first match of Group B.