Aaron Mpho Phangiso
January 21, 1984, Garankuwa
Right hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
Few bowlers can thank Sachin Tendulkar for making them look good but Aaron Phangiso, an unassuming left-arm spinner from Garankuwa, could. In the 2012 edition of the Champions League T20, Tendulkar was among the 10 wickets Phangiso claimed to finish third on the overall wicket-takers' list and, after eight years as a domestic workhorse, caught the attention of the global cricket world.
That summer, Phangiso was rewarded with a call-up to South Africa's limited-overs' squads and made his T20 and ODI debut in a series against New Zealand. Being neither a great turner of the ball nor a master of variations, Phangiso uses what his coach Grant Morgan called a "natural pause" in his action to operate primarily as a containing bowler. Phangiso essentially stops for a millisecond mid-stride before delivering the ball which makes him more difficult to pick.
His bowling technique was honed during his five-season stint at Northerns, after which he moved to North West. At his provincial side, Phangiso played in all formats but when he earned promotion to the franchise team, the Lions, he was primarily used in limited-overs cricket. His economy of under five runs an over in List A cricket and under seven runs an over in T20s is testament to his strangling style.
Where Phangiso was unlucky was that his rise coincided with that of other spinners turning heads both at his franchise and in the country. At the Lions, Phangiso competed with his international team-mate Imran Tahir for a regular place as well as with younger players such as Dale Deeb and Eddie Leie. Despite the tough competition, Phangiso carved a niche as the first-choice spinner for the Lions in shorter formats but struggled to do the same at international level.
Phangiso was part of South Africa's squad at the 2015 World Cup but was the only player in the 15-man traveling party who did not play a game. His year improved when he was named in all three South African squads to tour Bangladesh in July 2015, which included a maiden call-up to the Test team.
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