Vernon ‘The Surgeon’ Philander leaves a world-class mark

Vernon ‘The Surgeon’ Philander leaves a world-class mark

Vernon Philander during day four of the second Test match between South Africa and Australia at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth in 2014. Picture: Gallo Images

What has made him so effective with the new ball is simply skill – the ability to land the ball in the perfect place, and being able to move the ball either way off the seam or in the air.

For probably as long as cricket has been played, spectators have grown used to those operating with the new ball being two-metre tall athletes with long arms and legs, often with bulging muscles; angry people hurling down deliveries with fire and brimstone. Vernon Philander breaks that mould in many ways, but there have been few more deadly operators with the new ball than the 1.7m man from Ravensmead, who has been called “The Surgeon” by his fellow cricketers. If others have used the new ball as a blunt weapon, blasting top-order batsmen out, Philander’s modus operandi has been precision cuts...




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