Vernon Philander made his Proteas’ debut in the ODI series against Ireland and India in 2007, taking 4/12 on debut and followed this by being selected for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20, held in South Africa. He was unable to build on his initial success and dropped out of the picture after the ODI section of the 2008 tour of England.
However, he has forced his way back into the international scene after outstanding back-to-back seasons in the domestic Sunfoil Series competition.
This earned him a debut in the Sunfoil Test series against Australia in which he excelled, taking 14 wickets in the two-match series and ‘fifers’ in both matches. His eight wickets on debut gave him the best debut figures for the Proteas since unification and the fifth best in South African history. He enjoyed similar success against Sri Lanka and, after 4 matches, had 30 wickets at an average of 13 with four five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul.
His success continued unabated in New Zealand where he became the second fastest bowler of all time to reach 50 Test wickets and the quickest for more than a century. He went from one success to another and achieved a century of Test wickets in only his 19th match – the sixth fastest of all time.
To cap it all he displaced Dale Steyn as the No. 1 bowler on the ICC Test rankings for a brief period in 2013.
To date he has nine five-wicket hauls and two 10-wicket match hauls. This includes a remarkable fifer against New Zealand when he took five wickets in just 25 balls at the start of the Test match. This is the quickest by a bowler from the start of a Test match as far as can be ascertained.
He was a finalist for the ICC Cricketer of the Year as well at the Test Cricketer of the Year in 2012mand was also named in the ICC Test XI of the year in 2012 and again in 2013. On the home front he was named South African Cricketer of the Year and South African Sportsman of the Year for 2012.
His ability to swing the ball both ways at pace and hit the seam with great accuracy makes him a difficult customer to handle. He is also a more than useful lower-order batsman who has strengthened the Proteas’ tail in the five-day format, scoring a maiden Test half-century at Lord’s in 2012.
He recently returned to the ODI squad.