South Africa news April 9, 2012

Philander happy not to be in IPL


Vernon Philander, South Africa's new-ball Test sensation, admitted it is "a good thing" he did not get picked up in the IPL this year, because he will benefit more from his stint with Somerset in the County Championship. Philander signed up with Somerset late last year but his contract contained a clause that he would not turn up in Taunton if he secured an IPL deal.

Fate conspired to ensure that Philander would play in England though. Four IPL franchises were reportedly in the running to bid for Philander but no one did and he went unsold at the February 4 auction. His base price was set at $200,000, considered too steep for an international newcomer. Others, like Marchant de Lange, were contracted for $50,000 but Philander's heavy price tag meant he joined the likes of Mark Boucher and Lonwabo Tsotsobe on the sidelines.

The IPL snub meant that Philander's decision was made for him. He headed to Somerset less than a week after arriving back in South Africa from the tour of New Zealand. Gary Kirsten, South Africa's national coach, had expressed concern that Philander would be required to bowl in four-day cricket without much rest in between. But Philander showed no signs of fatigue and opened his English summer with a five-for in his first match. The South African management hopes that his time at Somerset will serve as an ideal preparation for when South Africa tour England this July to challenge for the No. 1 spot in Test cricket.

Philander believes it will. "The IPL has pros and cons, and I think it's a good thing I didn't get it this year," Philander told ESPNcricinfo. "I can do some preparation ahead of the England series."

Philander is no stranger to England. He spent time in the country as a schoolboy during an exchange programme, toured there with the South Africa Under-19s in 2003 and had stints at Devon and Middlesex. The conditions in England are believed to be the best suited to Philander's style of bowling: fast-medium pace, unwavering lines and lengths, slight movement off the seam and swing both ways.

He insists his bowling style will work "anywhere in the world" but said he will not bank on assistance from conditions, no matter where he is playing. "I normally prepare for flat wickets," Philander said before leaving for New Zealand, when talk was rife that seamer-friendly surfaces would be on offer. Philander had success in Dunedin and Wellington, where the pitches suited batting. However, he went wicketless in the second innings in Wellington, the only such instance in his short but successful career.

It was part of the learning curve in his journey as a cricketer and he embraced the challenges wholeheartedly. "It was a long road to get where I am," he said. "I didn't expect to take as many wickets but I did expect to step up to the plate."

Philander was called up to the South Africa Test squad after two profitable seasons in the first-class game, in which he took 94 wickets. He made his Test debut at his home ground, Newlands, but has since taken wickets around the country and in New Zealand.

"I always want to test my skills in different places," he said. For now, the opportunity to do so arises primarily in Test cricket as Philander has not had many opportunities in the other formats. He played an ODI against Sri Lanka in January and is keen to make the transition to the other formats, but is willing to bide his time before journeying to leagues like the IPL.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aamir on April 11, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    @sathish008 - So what that he wasn't picked? That tought him the value of protecting his career from losing bowling form. If he joined the IPL, South Africa will lose a crucial allrounder in their squad. And I'm saying this as a Pak fan.

  • Kesara on April 10, 2012, 20:35 GMT

    Sour Grapes Philly, Yours faithfully Kev Obrieon

  • John on April 10, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    @mari2619 on (April 10 2012, 14:49 PM GMT) IPL might be the most exciting comp in the world to you - but not to everyone

  • Mariam on April 10, 2012, 14:49 GMT

    IPL is the most exciting competition in the world, i love how players when not picked put the tournament down, but then come to the tournament in a few years. Not sure if ExplicitPlatinum would have the same comments if pakistani players were alllowed to play.

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    funny comments by ma of the indians here. Phildander didn't say he didn't want to play in the IPL or that he would rather have played county over the IPL. Initially he made himself available for the IPL as most players would, due to the higher pay packet and lower workload. However he did not get selected. In retropect it worked out better for him as a county stint would be more beneficial to him right now than an IPL stint - its quite plain and simple! As an Australian fan I wouldn't want to see any of our current test squad play in the IPL - it wouldn't benefit their test game at all compared to a county stint

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Sour grapes or not S.A. and Somerset are the winners here, which is a damn good thing.

  • John on April 10, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    @boston_pride - And Many Others - on (April 10 2012, 05:33 AM GMT) In this article VP has said that a stint playing county cricket in England would be more benefit to him than playing IPL. If the next big tournament/series for SA was a T20 in SC then IPL would be of more benefit to him.As the next big series for SA is Eng in Eng then surely playing 4 day matches on Eng pitches will be more helpful to him.I've not even seen him say he does not like IPL just that it was a blessing in disguise he wasn't picked.Also as I said with Broad , he can become a decent T20 player with experience and from what I see IPL tend to pick up more overseas players when they are on their way down (at a higher price) rather than pay a lower price for an unproven T20 player.

  • Sandesh on April 10, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    ha ha ,,, its quite natural from Philander... as he was not picked by ne team in the IPL, he is giving such comments. if he would have been picked in ne one of the franchises , he would have given statements in another way.

  • pankaj on April 10, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    Yeah yeah... When you don get picked up in the auction, its easy to say I'd prefer to play in the 4 day format... If he was such a wisecrack why did he make himself available in the auction pool?? Im no fan of IPL but when you dont get picked up n you act like you dont care it is so vain

  • sathish on April 10, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    @ ExplicitPlatinum - Its not Philander decision to give up IPL. He was not picked by any franchise firstup

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