Robin John Peterson
August 04, 1979, Port Elizabeth, Cape Province
Left hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
Spin bowlers of genuine potential are a rarity in South Africa, much less the jewels who can hold a bat as well as field with attacking intent. Peterson, a left-arm finger spinner from Eastern Province, fills all three vacancies more than competently. At first glance he seems an overly orthodox slow bowler, but he turns the ball appreciably given help from the pitch and is invariably a tidy operator with a steadily developing understanding of flight. Peterson has also cultivated an unusual delivery that turns into the right-handed batsmen.He was part of the South African Under-19 team that took on Pakistan and England, and he played the Under-19 World Cup in 1998. Peterson made his Test debut in 2003 against Bangladesh, taking five wickets and scored 61. It was in Bangladesh where he took his first five-wicket haul as well, on the 2008 tour.
Given more chances in ODIs, Peterson eventually began to grab his opportunities and his bowling, in particular, developed very usefully. He was part of South Africa's squad at the 2007 World Cup and hit the winning boundary - an outside edge past slip - in South Africa's one-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at Providence. He slipped out of national contention for a time, and didn't play for South Africa again for two years, but in the meantime represented the Warriors with distinction. In April 2009 he moved to Cape Town and, despite having a year remaining on his Warriors contract, requested a transfer to the Cape Cobras because his partner wanted to pursue her career in the Western Cape.
Peterson feared that he was simply treading water, however, and came close to relinquishing his dreams of further honours with South Africa. He made himself unavailable for national selection and headed to Derbyshire as a Kolpak player. Nevertheless, he was named in South Africa's squad for the 2011 World Cup, and though his inclusion was initally greeted by scepticism in some quarters, Peterson proved the doubters wrong with some superb all-round performances. He finished as South Africa's leading wicket-taker in the tournament, and particular highlights included his match-winning innings in the thrilling victory over India and his three-wicket opening burst against England.
Neil Manthorp/Jamie Alter July 2011
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