Vernon Philander is there if you need some seasoning

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We’ve spent much of the morning trying to work out what kind of a vehicle Vernon Philander is. After much thought, we’ve concluded that he’s not a vehicle at all – he’s a pepper grinder.

South Africa have a lot of whizzy, fancy kitchen gadgets. Dale Steyn is the luxury coffee-maker you always look forward to putting into use; Kagiso Rabada is a new vegetable juicer – novel and good for you, but might yet break down; and Morne Morkel is a big gallumphing lankatron of genial ferociousness who would do all the chopping and dicing you asked of him even though his rampant gigantism puts him in a decent position to say no to anyone at any time.

Philander, by contrast, is a low-key functional object who does his job perfectly.

You need some pepper? Use the grinder – there’s some pepper.

You need someone to bowl at the top of off stump, hitting the seam with every damn delivery? Use Vernon Philander – there’s 152 Test wickets at 21.65.

Philander was away for a while. When he returned, he looked solid-of-midriff and you got the impression that surely now his logic-defying brand of medium-pace would be found out.

Not so. It just never seems to work out like that. People always expected his Test bowling average to swell like a spacehopper at altitude following a few series away from home, but it never really did.

His home record is superior – as it is for almost all players – but his away record is 57 wickets at 25.35. That is, basically, earth-shattering. If it’s built on wickets taken in New Zealand and England then only in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe is his record actually outright bad – and that’s only three Tests.

Vernon Philander endures. Toastie makers and waffle irons may fall into disuse, but pepper will always be ground.

Clinical dobbery can take a bowler a very long way.


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  1. In the deepest recesses of my memory I thought I had you – I was sure he had been shite at Somerset in 2012 but alas – 36 wickets at 23.41 with 3 fivefers. Epic dobbing.

    1. Hmmm. Some of those wickets and one of the fivefers was for South Africa. I can’t be arsed to split the full Test stats out though so we’ll never know how shit or otherwise he was for Somerset that year.

  2. In other news, KC’s advertisers are no longer offering me Russian babes this year – it is a plethora of different advertisers offering me Chinese babes this year.

    Is this something to do with Trump/Putin, I wonder?

    1. I get shoes.

      I’m okay with shoes. Not their greatest fan or anything, but they’re handy for keeping my feet dry and pain-free.

    2. Speakers and TVs for me, Ged – the very things I’ve been googling/researching a lot of late…

    3. I’ve got a picture of a cucumber today, telling me it is something I must not eat. Well what am I supposed to do with a cucumber then? Any suggestions?

      1. That question might be the perfect ice-breaker with one of my Chinese babes.

        I’m being offered so many of them, Bert, you are welcome to one or more of the charming lasses.

      2. Do we know they’re charming though Ged? I mean, if there’s so many of them going wanting, there’s clearly something wrong with them. Could it be a total lack of charm? Or do they eat too many cucumbers?

        Or have I got this the wrong that way around, and are you just that damn special?

      3. I think we need to entertain the possibility that I am that special, Balladeer.

        Unfortunately, I think their definition of “that special” might be linked to that other ad I used to get all the time on here…the one that presupposes that I have $250,000 lying around just waiting to be invested.

        A shout out to the girls (and the investment agents come to that): I am well stacked but I’m not that loaded.

  3. Anil Kumble was mostly right arm slow medium who masqueraded as a leg spinner every once in a while. Useful bowler he was. Maybe bowling it straight on off stump every single time is the ultimate answer to cricket (and by extension life and the universe itself), and we’ve got it wrong all along.

  4. I got adverts for a citrus fruit squeezer and zester, a strange shirt about scotties, a choice of pepper mills on Amazon and a 25% discount in Trump’s new hotel if i stay for three nights.

    I bought a pepper mill.

    1. I thought your approach worked well too. More accessible for people looking on their phones rather than having a mouse to hand.

      I was getting Chinese babes too. Now I’ve got The Body Shop. I don’t know how to feel about this.

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