South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Johannesburg January 9, 2017

Who is Duanne Olivier?

Relatively unknown to most outside the country, the 24-year old fast bowler came into South Africa's Test squad after Kyle Abbott completed his Kolpak deal with Hampshire
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Duanne Olivier, in action for South Africa Under-19s on their tour of England in 2011 © Getty Images

South Africa's cricketing conveyor belt has produced another quick bowler, Duanne Olivier, who could make his international debut in the third Test against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg this week. Olivier is a 24-year-old seamer based in Bloemfontein, who led the first-class bowling charts halfway through the season and was picked as a replacement for Kolpak signee Kyle Abbott. Although relatively unknown to most outside the country, he has been knocking on the door for the last few months and was South Africa's most successful seam bowler on the A team's tour of Australia last winter with six wickets from two matches at 29.50.

Olivier is known for his versatility which includes the ability to strike upfront, contain through the middle period and make use of reverse swing at the back end. With a Test cap on the horizon, Olivier spoke to ESPNcricinfo about his background, his bowling and his plans for the future.

Schooled at Centurion High, Olivier played rugby, as a fullback, and participated in athletics before an injury in the 10th grade made him shift his focus to cricket. He was coached by the umpire Johan Cloete but it was not all smooth sailing. A stress fracture of the back in his final school year almost derailed his career.

"My action was a bit rotated so it was causing some back issues. I did some work to make my action smoother and easier to get through. Now I am more front-on."

At the under-19 week in December 2010, he played just two matches for Northerns, taking eight wickets at 25.25, but caught the eye of the Knights franchise and was offered a deal to study and play there. He started a degree in accounting but switched to a correspondence course in business management when his cricketing career became more serious in recent seasons.

"It was quite difficult to get a regular spot in the team because for a long time we had a lot of senior players like Quinton Friend and Johan van der Wath so I had to wait my turn. But I knew I just had to work hard and I would get my chance. I worked a lot with Nicky Boje and Allan Donald. Nicky has really helped us all with goal-setting and Allan has been good with me about developing certain game plans. I like to bowl when the ball is a bit older, I enjoy the challenge. If the wicket and condition allow, reverse-swing can be part of my game. I am really enjoying my cricket at the Knights - they have been really good to me."

Last Thursday morning, before there was official confirmation that the Newlands Test was Abbott's last, Olivier received a call from convener of selectors Linda Zondi, informing him of his inclusion in the squad for the third Test.

"I was quite shocked. I always wanted to play for my country but I didn't expect it so soon. I have played with some of the guys on A tours but this is going to be a new experience for me."

He is represented by Weber van Wyk, the same agent who secured Kolpak deals for Abbott, Rilee Rossouw and David Wiese but indicated he is not looking to go the same way.

"I want to play as long as possible for my country. When I am playing, I don't think about stuff off the field. I haven't considered a Kolpak deal."

Olivier made his franchise debut at the Wanderers in 2014, where he took 1 for 30 in the first innings. He has only played one other first-class match at the venue, in March last year and took seven wickets as the Knights stormed to a 10-wicket win.

"Every bowler likes to play at the Wanderers so if I get the opportunity I'm sure I will make the most of it."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Michael on January 10, 2017, 18:44 GMT

    @ARNIE! It's pronounced as Dwayne, but I can understand the confusion, the spelling is quite strange.

  • Cheese on January 10, 2017, 8:30 GMT

    @Herath UK

    Rillee Roussow has accepted a Kolpak contract so his contract with CSA is now officially terminated - he cannot be selected to play for SA.

    My best 11:

    1. Elgar 2. Cook 3. Amla 4. Faff 5.Bavuma 6. De kock 7.Pretorius 8.Parnell 9. Vernon 10. Marharaj 11.Rabada. Thats a serious bowling attack 5 bowlers. And reasonable batting up to 10. Duminy adds nothing to the team, better off playing a proper all-rounder.

  • Anees on January 10, 2017, 8:15 GMT

    @DEEPFREEZED what are you talking about? SA have lost only 2 series in 10 years away from home (One while playing on mine fields) and have just come back from beating Australia away from home. In those 10 years they have beaten India in India, beaten Pakistan in UAE, Beaten SL in SL and beaten Bangladesh in Bangladesh. Ironically something that has not happened in the inverse. And lets be honest if India served up the same pitches that they gave England to SA then there is a chance that India would have been beaten.

    A lot is said about the fairness of the pitches SA gave SL however 80% of the SL wickets to fall were not due to good bowling or the pitch misbehaving it was due to poor shot selection and lapses in concentration.

  • Cheese on January 10, 2017, 7:56 GMT

    Lets me honest here. Maharaj can probably make more runs than Duminy and he can bowl too.

  • MPHELE on January 9, 2017, 17:22 GMT

    I don't really understand what is all the fuss with trying to drop players from a team that just won two back to back series.Has anybody ever heard of never change a winning team.At this rate we are becoming like England where it's actually exciting when we lose than when we win...and those who say we can't win away must remember SA has only lost 2 series in 10 years away.

  • bhmemo1769674 on January 9, 2017, 16:57 GMT

    Is his name pronounced Do-Anne or Dwayne?

  • bhmemo1769674 on January 9, 2017, 16:54 GMT

    "Relatively unknown" inside the country as well.

  • Ranil on January 9, 2017, 16:11 GMT

    Will this be the Best team for the current form that will please most SA cricket lovers 1.Elgar 2.Cook 3.Rossouw 4.DuPlesis 5.Bruyn 6.Morris/Miller 7.Decock 8.Morkel 9.Steyn 10.Olivier 11.Rabada. I've omitted a spinner on green pitches.

  • Mrcriccanada on January 9, 2017, 16:09 GMT

    @ALTAFPATEL ON JANUARY 9, 2017, 13:32 GMT I know one Altaf Patel from my engineering college days, guy from southern part of Gujarat. You are right. SA and Assuie are breeding places for the good cricketers. However, unlike Aussies, SA doesn't know how to take care of these talented folks. To some extent, I blame the quota system. Color over merit? Naaaahhh

  • Alan on January 9, 2017, 15:13 GMT

    MEMORYLOSS-RECTIFIED: I guess, by your logic, Sri Lanka only need to make a "marginal" improvement to beat the Proteas? Incidentally, this lad Olivier bowls at pretty much the same pace as young Kumara. Every true cricket fan would love to see the Sri Lankans putting up a real fight but unfortunately mental strength, application and tactical nous are not exactly strong points with this rudderless Sri Lankan team.

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