Vernon Philander broke in to the international scene in 2007 in ODIs and T20s as an all rounder, but was dropped after some not so impressive performances. His recent return to the international cricket and that too in test matches is nothing short of phenomenal. His achievements in otherwords are Bradmanesque. Today with his ‘yet another 5 wicket haul’ he created a world record. He reached 50 international wickets in just 7 test matches. He is the quickest in over a century to reach 50 test wickets . The only bowler to reach this feat quicker was Charlie Turner and that happened in 1887 (Charlie achieved this in 6 matches).
Philander did not break in to the scene as a tear away fast bowler like Lee, Akthar, Waqar Younis or Allan Donald; most of the time such records are associated with tearaway fast bowlers. He was not considered as skillful as a Lille or a Hadlee. He was at best considered as a steady bowler and was brought in to the team as a support bowler and in just 7 matches he is standing as the quickest bowler to reach the 50 wicket mark in over a century. He is yet to play in the sub-continent, however that should not take any credit away from his achievements. To get six 5 wicket hauls in 7 matches is something phenomenal and can only be compared with the rate at which Bradman scored his runs and centuries. His bowling average of 13.1 after taking 51 wickets is definitely extraordinary.
His achievements are much better than they actually looks, it is because he is not bowling in a team of mediocre bowlers. He is sharing the ball with bowlers of the class of Steyn and Morne Morkel. Dale Steyn is one of the fastest to reach 250 wickets and has a phenomenal average and strike rate and often considered as the the best bowler in the world today. To overshadow some one of the class of Steyn, in not just one match but in over 7 matches is something great.
His strength is his accuracy, he can keep hitting the right spot ball after ball without losing his patience. He can swing the ball both ways and he is truly the heir apparent of Mc Grath, and can match (or even exceed) the feats of Mc Grath if he can maintain this consistency and stay away from injuries. The good thing about Philander is, he is not a mystery bowler like a Mendis. Bowlers like Mendis or Paul Adams will be a challenge when they burst on to the international scene, but once the teams decode their bowling then they become less potent, however bowlers like Mc Grath or Philander are not mystery bowlers, everyone in the world knows where they will bowl. They will hit the corridor of uncertainty and maintain a line just outside off stump. Their patience and accuracy will get them the rewards and unlike the tearaways (like akthar, lee and waquar) these bowlers are less susceptible to injuries.
Cricages take great deal of pleasure in congratulating Vernon Philander on his achievement and wish him a great career ahead. We need true champions to make this game more popular and Philander is truly a Champion in the making.
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