World class fast bowler Vernon Philander is thrilled about the mood in the Jamaica Tallawahs camp, and believes the Kingston-based franchise has what it takes to win the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League.
The 28-year-old South African, one of three overseas players in the Tallawahs line-up for the glitzy showpiece that has taken the region by storm, says the unity in the squad is excellent and this augurs well for their success.
“The Jamaica camp has been great. We’ve got a great team and we’ve got a great bonding taking place. We’re playing as a team, enjoying each other’s success and that’s obviously key in such a short tournament. The boys are gelling well and having fun,” said Philander, who is playing alongside fellow foreign pros Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan and Pakistan batsman Ahmad Shahzad.
“We play the game to win and obviously we’re going to give it our best shot and hopefully it comes off.”
Tallawahs opened the tournament with a loss to Guyana Amazon Warriors in Georgetown, but have rebounded in style to win their three matches since. Their impressive run has left them third in the standings on six points, and with a great chance of booking their spot in the final four.
Philander has been key to the Tallawahs’ success, producing a top spell in the second game against Antigua to help set up that victory, and has chipped in with little cameo performances ever since to make his presence felt.
He said the Caribbean campaign has been a top notch one so far.
“I think it is a great initiative. It is always great to be playing Twenty20 cricket in the Caribbean. It’s obviously good for young lads to showcase their talents on the world stage,” he pointed out. “The quality of the tournament is good, with the West Indies international players being spread over the teams that are here. It’s good that the younger blokes can get some exposure and to mix with some of the international players and to get that experience in order to perform on the world stage. All in all, it’s a good initiative.”
Philander, one of the spearheads of South Africa’s attack, is also using the Limacol CPL as preparation for upcoming international assignments. The Proteas take on Pakistan starting in October and face India at the end of the year.
“That’s why I came out here – to get the experience with the white ball and obviously to be playing. It’s obviously prep for me moving forward with the white ball at the international level. I’ll take it as good preparation for that,” Philander said.
The second fastest bowler to 50 wickets in Test cricket – he achieved the mark in just seven matches – Philander said he was taking his success in stride and pacing his career.
So far, he has taken 89 wickets from 16 matches, proving himself to be one of the most difficult seamers to handle on the international scene.
“I take it each game at a time. I prepare for my next game as if it’s my [last] game and that’s how I go about my business,” Philander said.
“I’m not one to look too far ahead into the future. I just take it one game at a time. Hopefully I can take a lot more sticks (wickets) and obviously keep a lot of people happy and a lot of people (batsmen) unhappy as well.”