Smith has challenged Philander to increase the speed of his bowling
Having taken 89 wickets in just 16 Tests matches at an absolutely jaw-dropping average of 17.13, South Africa pace bowler Vernon Philander is definitely one of the biggest threats in the cricketing world right now, but Proteas captain Graeme Smith still sees room for improvement for his star seamer.
“Vern has got the results but he is still a work in progress,” said Smith. “I think he can get better.”
Philander is currently second on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test bowlers rankings, only behind his partner in crime Dale Steyn.
Philander’s exceptional line and length mixed together with Dale Steyn’s aggressiveness have resulted in three of the lowest totals being made against South Africa.
Firstly was Australia, who made 47 in Philander’s Test debut in 2011, next was 45 by New Zealand earlier this year and most recently was Pakistan, who could only muster 49 runs.
In those three innings put together, Philander snapped up 12 wickets while giving away only 38 runs.
However, captain Smith wants to see Philander increase the speed of his bowling.
“I think he himself would like to see his pace up a little bit,” Smith added. “Outside of that his skill factor is immense. The seam action that he gets out of his hand… the questions he asks batters. It’s great to stand at slip and watch that happen.
“If he can pick up a little bit of pace, which he has definitely got, his old ball spells will get even better. His new ball spells are so effective that if he can get his old ball spells to the same level he can really produce. I know it’s asking a lot but I do believe he can get there.”