The ‘one for all, all for one’ mentality is what makes the Proteas four-man pace strikeforce so potent, says Vernon Philander.
‘It is about understanding the role that you play within the attack,’ he said. ‘We are four seamers, so we want to keep it as tight as possible and bowl them out as cheaply as possible. It’s about finding your role in the four-pronged attack and making sure you deliver what is required of you.’
All the pacemen have stepped in at various times in the first two Tests against India, securing a 2-0 winning margin in the three-Test series. They are aiming for a whitewash in the third Test, starting at the Wanderers on Wednesday.
Philander completed a career-best 6-42 in the series-opening win over India, only to have his achievement overshadowed by the debut performance of Lungi Ngidi, who took 6-39 amid some solid displays from Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada, who briefly rose to No 1 in the ICC Test rankings.
‘We all want to be that hero at the end of the day, to put up our hand and be the Man of the Match, but not every surface is going to allow it. So it’s about being mature enough to know that your end might not be the end to strike from, and to play accordingly to make sure the other guys get the best out of their end to strike,’ he said, on the eve of his 50th Test.
‘I have played this game long enough to understand my role within the side. In the last game I had to make sure I kept it tight on the one end and allowed the others to strike. I haven’t had a look at the conditions here at the Wanderers, but I will adapt as the conditions present themselves.’
A 3-0 series win will take the Proteas level with India at the top of the ICC Test rankings, although India will remain first by a decimal point, with the four-match series against Australia in March providing an opportunity for the team to topple India by the 3 April cut-off date.
The Proteas carry vital momentum following the series-clinching 135-run win at Centurion last week, and they kickstarted preparations at the Bullring on Monday following a well-earned four-day break.
‘We want to win each and every Test match that we play,’ Philander said. ‘There is no dead-rubber game for us, we will prepare as well as we can to make sure we are ready. There are no dead-rubbers when we play any team in the world.’
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix