The South African Emerging team successfully defended the title they won last year by defeating New Zealand in this years final in a competition that also included emerging teams from India and the hosts, Australia.
While the South African team can be pleased with their performances, and the experience gained by some of its younger players, the most pleasing aspect of the tour was the prolific form of all rounder Vernon Philander.
They say the true measure of an all rounder, a genuine all rounder, is if he is able to hold his place in the team as both a batsman and a bowler, and not a batsman who bowls a bit or a bowler who can bat, as is the case of many of the “all rounders” in cricket today. Philander, who made his international debut in South Africa’s recent short series in Ireland, provided his credentials as an all rounder by topping both the batting and bowling tables at the tournament. In 6 matches Philander bowled 48 overs and 5 balls, taking 13 wickets at an average of 9,15. He topped the wickets taken, best average, and best economy tables. His economy rate of 2,43 was by far the best and showed that he was able to stem the run rate as well as take wickets when called upon to bowl his fast medium seamers. In the 6 matches Philander, batting in the middle order, was called upon to bat 4 times, and ended not out on 2 occasions. He scored 141 runs at an average of 70,50, the best average of the tournament, and a strike rate of exactly 100.
Philanders all round ability, and the experience he is not getting, is a shining light for South African cricket. It has been suggested that Philadner is one of the players who is seen as a potential replacement for Shaun Pollock, when the great Polly calls it a day, but on current form there is no reason that he should not be in the team with Pollock right now. It can do his young, growing, career no harm to be taken under the wings of Pollock and Kallis at this stage of his development. With bat or ball in hand, Vernon Philander, and South African crickets, future looks bright.