The Test series between England and South Africa starting next month is already being billed as a battle between the top two attacks in Test cricket.
In the blue corner, featuring a trio of strapping lads, one who swings, another who seams it about and a third who looks to extricate bounce, is England; in the green corner, with the world’s No 1 fast bowler (who swings it about too), another who uses his height to get bounce out of the surface and a third who “nibbles” it around off the seam, is SA.
There are a pair of interesting spinners too, and some, most notably former England captain, Michael Vaughan, have claimed England hold the edge because Graeme Swann is a better bowler than Imran Tahir. And perhaps that is the case and the two spinners will play an important part at some stage of the three-Test series. But really what everyone is looking forward to are those fast bowlers.
Both sides have done extremely well to build a group of fast bowlers capable of providing different “looks” for opposing batsmen.
It wasn’t that long ago that there were concerns about the support bowlers for Dale Steyn and Morné Morkel, but last season saw the emergence in the Test arena of Vernon Philander, and his extraordinary success has helped South Africa’s attack evolve into one which may be the best the country has had since readmission.
Philander claimed the major silverware at Wednesday night’s Cricket South Africa Awards banquet, scooping the SA Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year awards. The statistics for his first seven Tests make for eye-popping reading: 51 wickets at an average of 14.15 with six “five-fors” and two “ten-fors”.
That amazing start has heaped the pressure on Philander to repeat similar numbers in England next month.
The other big winner last night was AB de Villiers, who picked up the ODI Cricketer of the Year and the much-valued (among the players) Players’ Player of the Year. – The Star
PROFESSIONAL AWARDS: (SA TEAM)
Cricketer of the Year: Vernon Philander
Players’ Player of the Year: AB de Villiers
Test Cricketer of the Year: Vernon Philander
ODI Cricketer of the Year: AB de Villiers
Newcomer of the Year: Marchant de Lange
International T20 Cricketer of the Year: Richard Levi
Fans’ Cricketer of the Year: Vernon Philander
KFC “So Good” Award: Richard Levi
1-Day Cup Cricketer of the Year: Dean Elgar
MiWay T20 Cricketer of the Year: Farhaan Behardien
SuperSport Series Cricketer of the Year: Alviro Petersen
Fair Play award: Sunfoil Dolphins
Coach of the Year: Matthew Maynard
Domestic Newcomer of the Year: Eddie Leie
SACA Most Valuable Player award: Morné van Wyk
Domestic Players’ Player of the Year: Faf du Plessis
Groundsman of the Year: Louis Kruger (North West)
Scorers’ Association of the Year: Gauteng
Umpires’ Umpire of the Year: Karl Hurter
Umpire of the Year: Shaun George