CAPE TOWN – Over the years Newlands has carried many a cricketer on its shoulders.
In a bygone era it was the imaginative Eddie Barlow. Modernists will reflect on the classy Jacques Kallis and mercurial Herschelle Gibbs.
But for the best part of the last decade nobody was more exalted than Vernon Philander among the Newlands faithful. “Big Vern” always seemed to haul out his best in front of “his people”. Newlands was his grand stage and specifically New Year was his time to show off.
It’s no wonder then that there’s just a bit of lump in his Philander’s throat as he approaches the second Test here against England, which will also double up as his farewell to his beloved Cape Town supporters.
“Newlands has always been a special place for me. Obviously come Friday its going to be emotional. This place has been so good to me. From 2003 - 2020 that’s 17 years of coming here,” Philander, who announced his retirement from international cricket prior to the start of this England series, said yesterday.