Vernon Philander June 30, 2013

'Nothing was sweeter than my first Test'

Interview by Jack Wilson
Bowling the opposition out for 47 on debut? Hard to top that

First cricketing hero
I wanted to be like everyone when I was a kid! I wanted to bat like Jacques Kallis, bowl like Allan Donald, keep like Adam Gilchrist and field like Herschelle Gibbs. I wouldn't say I idolised them - I just looked at the style and the way they played and wanted to be like them myself. At the end of the day it comes down to doing what you want to do, but these guys inspired me massively.

First tour
When I was 17 I came out to England with the South Africa Under-19 side. It was a pretty good experience - and we managed to beat them, which always helps. We had a handy team at the time. Myself, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, AB De Villiers and Aaron Phangiso were all a part of it. It's good to look back and see that some great cricketers were produced from that team.

First time I was asked for an autograph
I must have been about 20 when I was playing for Cape Cobras. I used to collect autographs when I was a kid, and I got my first in 1998 - it was Jonty Rhodes.

First first-class century
I scored my first one when I was 18 years old playing for Western Province. I ended up making 168 and it's a memory that will always stay with me.

First call-up for South Africa
I was lucky enough to have a pretty good start to both my ODI and Test careers, Against Ireland in the one-dayer, I started off with four wickets and we won. That was my first taste of international cricket.

Then my first Test match, against Australia, was just incredible. We bowled them out for 47 in the second innings, I ended up with five wickets and we won the game - and it was at Newlands too. If I have to choose one, that was the highlight. Nothing was sweeter than that. I'd done well on the domestic circuit but that was amazing.

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