Ashwell Prince says he’s surprised that Vernon Philander’s name has not been mentioned as a potential No 7 for the World Cup, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
The Proteas have been struggling to find two all-rounders to fit their system.
Having a look at their squad selection for the tour to Australia, it is clear once again that they are searching for players to fill the No 7 spot, with Chris Morris and Dwaine Pretorius receiving their call-ups.
Dale Steyn’s return and recent performances almost guarantee him the No 8 spot, which leaves three all-rounders competing for the No 7 role – Andile Phehlukwayo, Morris and Pretorius.
Many believe that Philander too should be considered for selection and Cobras coach Prince is one of many who supports this notion.
‘Vernon Philander is a world-class cricketer,’ Prince told SACricketmag.com.
‘Perhaps sometimes in the past, he doesn’t get a lot of credit for his batting. People are throwing all sorts of names of potential No 7s for South Africa to the World Cup, but [not] Vernon Philander’s name.
‘That amazes me that a whole lot of names are mentioned but his name. Once again he has shown what a world-class act he is.’
The 33-year-old’s last ODI came against New Zealand in 2015. He has played 30 ODIs, taken 41 wickets, and scored 151 runs. But since then, his batting has come a long way, especially in first-class cricket, where he has three centuries.
In the recently concluded 4-Day Franchise Series match for the Cobras against the Dolphins, Philander was crucial in leading his side to victory.
Facing fellow Proteas players Keshav Maharaj, Robbie Frylink and Khaya Zondo, Philander struck a match-saving maiden Cape Cobras century to pull his side back into the match after a top- and middle-order collapse.
The Cobras ended up winning the match by five wickets.
Philander also hit a half-century in the Test against Australia in March, a format he has eight half-centuries in.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images