Trapping Kohli was special for Philander

Trapping Kohli was special for Philander

Vernon Philander's last outing against India was a forgettable one. He ruptured his ankle ligaments during training ahead of the second Test in Bengaluru in 2015 and had to return home.

Since then he has had a few more injuries and has spent more time off the field than on it. Often in the past, he has given an impression of pulling away even with a minor niggle, leaving the team exasperated.

The paceman, a Capetonian, somewhat redeemed himself here on Monday in front of his home crowd by claiming his career-best innings (6/42) figures against India in the first Test and bowling South Africa to a 72-run win.

Virat Kohli's was easily the most prized of the six wickets that he claimed on the day and that he got the Indian skipper after setting him up nicely, made the scalp that much more special. After dragging him inch by inch to play closer to the off-stump with a series of outswingers, Philander seamed one into Kohli who played the wrong line and got rapped plump in front.

"Virat's obviously a very good player, an aggressive player," said Philander before explaining his trap. "I think the key thing is to keep him quiet and to make sure you set him up for the other one. Initially, it was just to keep him quiet up front, but yes, I always knew that I had the one coming back.  We knew Virat was a big wicket to get.

"It was about two and a half overs of away swingers and then one back into him. It was definitely a plan to keep him quiet and also to drag him across and make sure that when you do bowl the other one, he's on the other side of the off-stump," he elaborated.

This was the kind of attitude and performance that the South Africans expected from the senior pro, especially after Dale Steyn was rendered unfit to bowl in the second innings. And also to cast away an impression that his work ethic is questionable.

"I like people to be constructive and open and honest with us as players," noted Philander who admitted he has taken criticism personally in the past instead of taking it positively. "There are two ways of taking it -- you can take it personally and fade away, or you can take it on board and make a play. I took it a bit personally up front, you are all obviously human, but you try to get over it as quickly as possible, get better, do some work behind the scenes and come back stronger."

 

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