EXCLUSIVE: Vernon Philander excited to work with skillful Pakistan youngsters
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CAPE TOWN – Former Proteas seamer Vernon Philander is "excited to work with a group of skillful youngsters" after being appointed Pakistan bowling coach for the upcoming T20 World Cup on Monday.
Philander, 36, retired from international cricket after the final Test against England last year at the Wanderers, but was still expected to turn out for Western Province this coming season in the newly-formed Cricket SA provincial structure.
Philander, who has no previous formal coaching experience, will instead join up with former Australian Test batsman Matthew Hayden in a revamped Pakistan coaching set-up after Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis resigned after the announcement of the 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman next month.
The Pakistan Cricket Board also unveiled a new chief executive Ramiz Raja on Monday, with the former World Cup-winning opening batsman being nominated by legendary Pakistan captain and current Prime Minister Imran Khan.
"Ramiz obviously called me up and asked if I was interested in joining the Pakistan team. It is a huge opportunity which I couldn't turn down. It's also really exciting to work with a group of skilful youngsters," Philander told IOL Sport.
"Mohammad Hasnain is a really talented young bowler, and of course, there's the big guy Shaheen Shah Afridi. I saw quite a bit of them during the recent series against South Africa and I am really excited to be working with them."
Pakistan have a proud history of producing world-class fast bowlers such as Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akthar and Mohammad Amir. Their knowledge and understanding of the art of pace bowling, and particularly reverse-swing is also world renowned, which places Philander under pressure from the outset in his new role, especially as he has no prior formal coaching experience.
"It's international cricket. There is always pressure, no matter which team you are a part of," he said.
"I would like to think that I can add value in terms of bringing some form of consistency to this young attack. They are an exciting group and and they also want to head in a direction where they play an attacking brand of cricket which is exciting to be a part of."
Rameez was confident that Philander's appointment will benefit Pakistan cricket.
"I know him (Philander) well, he understands the nuances of bowling and has a great record in Australia," Rameez said.
Philander’s departure is the second former Protea to leave South African shores recently to pursue a coaching job overseas. Former Test and ODI batsman Ashwell Prince also left his job as head coach at Western Province to join the Bangladesh national team as their batting consultant. Bangladesh’s head coach is former Proteas coach Russell Domingo.