Team-mates past and present lead Vernon Philander retirement tributes

England

Vernon Philander will retire at the end of this series against England, having claimed more than 200 Test wickets in an eight-year career. Here’s what his contemporaries had to say about him on the eve of his swan song at the Wanderers:

Faf du Plessis: “A banker”

“With Vern, it’s great to know as a captain you can give the ball to someone with control. Test cricket is all about control, run-rate, putting guys under pressure through either spells where you feel you can get a lot of wickets – with Vern sometimes that is the case, when the ball is moving around, it feels like he can get a guy out at any stage or with the control factor. If the wicket is a bit slower, I know I am going to get control out of him.

“In Test cricket you don’t want to be throwing the ball to someone and hope that he keeps the run-rate under 4.5, it releases a lot of pressure. I know that Vern gives me that control. He is a banker, most certainly always. Later in his career, it has been about managing his workload. This is a four-Test series. He didn’t bowl as much in the previous game as a bowler like him can bowl but had the foresight and understanding that we will need him here at Wanderers and if necessary push himself a little bit more, which he will be because it’s last.”

Graeme Smith: “The last cog in the wheel”

“Under my captaincy Vern was like the last cog in the wheel. He was an incredible guy who came in and added to our bowling attack. His skill against left-handed batsmen was a huge thing. Being able to be effective and get us into games, allowing other people to be more aggressive and attack more because we always knew Vern was going to be reliable and give us what we needed.

“I think the one thing that always gets missed about him is that he’s a fantastic competitor. He’s got the bit between his teeth and he gets into contests. And his ability to front up. We are all put under pressure in the international game. It’s how you regroup and front up again. Vern was fantastic from that perspective. An element of that needs to come back into our national side – how guys front up under pressure and perform when needed; when the moments are right.

“He was outstanding. I would have loved to see him progress more in the short formats. My argument with Vern has always been has he always got to that level of talent that he’s had? Has he worked hard enough, at times, to get there. Certainly what he’s produced in the Test format for us, his record speaks for itself. He can be proud.

“Now the conversation is how do we keep him in the system, because his knowledge on bowling and his skill is something we cannot afford to lose. As CSA we lose too much intellectual property all the time. Even post my 11 years of captaincy no-one sat down and said, ‘Look here, what did you learn? What are the systems?’ It’s an area we’re not very good at. So we’ve got to try and keep all this knowledge of international cricket and quality players in the system to hopefully develop the next heroes.”

Quinton de Kock: “His own person”

“Vern’s his own person. He brings a lot, not just with his skills with the ball and the bat, but with his attitude towards the game. We’re going to miss that. I hope he can have a good goodbye.”

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