Duanne Olivier says he is fully focused on the three-Test series against India.
The fast bowler’s last Test appearance for the Proteas was against Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth in February 2019.
He then ended a burgeoning international career for the foreseeable future by signing a Kolpak contract with Yorkshire.
However, Olivier returned to South African cricket this year to play for the Lions and is the leading wicket-taker in the Domestic 4-Day Series, with 28 at an average of 11.14 and a strike rate of 23.1.
With Anrich Nortje out with a hip injury, Olivier is set to return to the Proteas’ Test lineup for the first Test against India in Centurion, which starts on Sunday.
“The pressure and expectations are also very high, but whatever I achieved three years ago, it is in the past,” he said on Thursday.
“I try not to look at the past. I am a different person in a different squad that has different management.
“Everything is different, so you try to focus on what you want to do now and what you want to achieve.
“We have three Tests coming up and they’re massive. All my focus is on them.”
Oliver was asked if his Test return would feel like his Test debut.
“I won’t say debut all over again, but I think it will be different,” he replied. “I am nervous whenever it comes to playing any game. If it’s my first over, I am very nervous, so it will be a different feeling.
“If I’m selected to play, I think my nerves will be shot through the roof.”
Olivier believes he has evolved a lot as a player since he last played for the Proteas.
“I feel like I’m a different player now, I’m a bit older … a bit more grown-up,” he said with a laugh. “From a cricket perspective, I do feel I’m a bit different as well.
“The UK has helped me a lot with just perfecting that fuller length that every bowler wants to bowl. For me, it was quite difficult because it could come across as floaty and not being as consistent.
“I’m still working on it and won’t get it right every single time, but I’ve played three years in the UK and it’s helped me immensely just the way I approach my game. Previously people saw me as a bowler who only bowled short, but now I feel I have an extra element to my game.”
Olivier says he is looking forward to facing India, adding: “It will probably be the biggest series I will play.
“India are not the No 1 team for no reason. They haven’t won here, so they’ll want to come here and want to win. For us, we don’t want that to happen.
“If selected then there will be those pressures that come with playing against world-class players, but at the same time, it’s a really exciting challenge.
“If I think right now of the opportunity to bowl to [Virat] Kohli, it will be tough, but it’s really exciting at the same time thinking that I will be bowling to probably the top four batters in the world.
“It’s like making a statement to them, letting them know that we’re here to compete and challenge them. It’s very exciting.”