Vernon Philander takes his first steps on the road to redemption when he leads the SA A attack in their series against Zim A.
He is targeting a return to the Proteas in August’s New Zealand series after eight months in the international wilderness since injuring his ankle on the tour of India in November. The 31-year-old tested himself in three first-class appearances for Western Province and the Cape Cobras at the back end of last season taking 10 wickets.
‘I never quite knew the severity of the injury until a couple of months after and it’s been coming and going, but these last few weeks it’s really been holding up. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing cricket again’
The right-arm seamer needs an emphatic performance to counter criticism that he has lost some of pace and penetration at the highest level. But he has an outstanding record for his country with 126 wickets in just 32 Tests at an average of 22.08.
The SA A team play neighbours Zimbabwe A in two four-day Tests from 9-18 July, before two more four-day Tests in Australia at the end of July and in early August.
Philander will be providing the leadership to a strong squad of seamers, including Sisanda Magala, Duanne Olivier, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius and Hardus Viljoen.
‘As much as it’s about me getting back, it’s also about me sharing my knowledge with these younger guys out here,’ he said. ‘As long as I can help the younger ones coming through, I think I’ll be playing my part in South African cricket.’
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/Backpagepix