Smith: Philander ‘can’t seem to make it through a series’

“There’s been too many times where you’re fighting to get him onto the field”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has lashed out at pace bowler Vernon Philander after he was ruled out of the fourth Test against England with a back injury.

Philander has been South Africa’s best bowler during the series, but hurt his hand while batting in the first Test at Lord’s. He then starred in the second Test at Trent Bridge before succumbing to a stomach virus that led to him being hospitalised during the third Test at The Oval.

For Smith, it is a frustrating sight as Philander has taken 10 wickets, five of which came during the second Test, at an average of 23.40.

“He can’t seem to make it through a series; his body is maybe not fit enough,” Smith said on the BBC’s Test Match Special radio programme. “It’s been an issue but it’s becoming serious‚ more of an issue.

“You’re trying to build a team and if your senior players can’t get through tours then you’ve got a problem. He took a blow at Lord’s and it took a crane to get him back onto the field. There’s been too many times where you’re fighting to get him onto the field.

“If you think about South Africa’s lineup‚ unless Philander is fit they can’t go in without the extra bowler. Him not being fit influences a vast amount of strategy in terms of selection.”

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