Man of the moment Duanne Olivier 'quite surprised' by recent success

Man of the Series Duanne Olivier of South Africa during the 2018/19 Castle Lager 3rd Test Series match between South Africa and Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg on 14 January 2019.
Man of the Series Duanne Olivier of South Africa during the 2018/19 Castle Lager 3rd Test Series match between South Africa and Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg on 14 January 2019.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

After taking 24 wickets to help South Africa to a 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan, player of the series and South African fast bowler Duanne Olivier admitted that he surprised himself with what he achieved.

He ended the series as the best wicket taker after he grabbed his opportunity when he was drafted into the starting line-up of the first match at SuperSport Park as a replacement for injured Vernon Philander.

Had he taken one more wicket, Olivier could have equaled the record for the most wickets by a South African in a three-match series that was set by Charlie Llewellyn, who took 25 wickets against Australia way back in 1902.

“Quite a bit to be honest,” was his response with a laugh when he was asked if he surprised himself with the way he played in the series.

“For me, I do like to bowl short and to do it for three Tests is satisfying and I am very proud of it. I am happy that my body allowed me to do it. It is just about having fun and enjoying every moment because you will never know when it’s your last game. At the end of the day it is a team effort and we played very well, even though it was not at 100 percent, but we still did well.”

Olivier’s performances have left coach Ottis Gibson with a selection poser for the two-match series against Sri Lanka next month in Durban and Port Elizabeth, where spinner Keshav Maharaj is likely to be in the reckoning.

“I am not thinking that far ahead, I am taking it day by day. I am going back to my franchise to see what happens there and try to contribute to my team. It is not like I am a certainty in the Proteas team and I am going to play a game. It is just to try and have fun and so far it has been good and I am enjoying being back in the national side.”

Gibson admitted that with Olivier’s performances, they will have to decide how they go about balancing the side in Durban and Port Elizabeth where spin is always a factor.

“We have to look at the next series and see how we go about it but we have the option to play four or three fast bowlers. To play four plus Maharaj is an option as well but we have plenty of options going forward, but we will look at opposition and conditions of where we are playing and decide what is the best combination to win Test matches,’ said Gibson.

Olivier said he took the opportunity when it was presented in the absence of Philander and taking 24 wickets was satisfying.

“It is satisfying because if you look at the first Test, Vern (Philander) was injured, so I got the opportunity and for me was to make use of the opportunity. I played in the Mzansi Super League (MSL) where I did reasonably well and I also did well during the four day preparations. If I look back at my previous Test match, I was still young and inexperienced and I was exposed at times. I was looking too far ahead and not concentrating on taking it ball by ball but this series I committed to every ball.”


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