“It’s just good to get out here man. I’m looking forward to this one,” an energised Vernon Philander said yesterday.
It was the type of response you’d expect from a man who has had to work his way back from an injury. Even more so from someone looking to reclaim his place in the Proteas Test squad.
Philander last played for the Proteas in Mohali during their tour to India last year before an ankle injury forced him onto a flight home and several months of rehab. He returned towards the back-end of the South African domestic season, first in a club game and then for the Cape Cobras.
He’s now part of the South Africa A side that departs to Zimbabwe today for a two-match four day series and will also form part of the touring squad to Australia later on this month.
“For me it’s important to get the ball rolling again. I’ve had a pretty lengthy off season so to speak but I’ve given the injury time to recover and the ankle is holding up nicely and I’m looking forward to getting started,” Philander said yesterday.
His immediate intention is to push the doubts that come after an injury out of his mind before making the selectors take notice as they get ready to announce a squad for a two-Test Series against New Zealand next month.
“For me it’s first of all just to get over the mental kerb of the ankle in the background. As far as goals are concerned I just want to be 100% ready by the time our international season starts. I’m going there (to Zimbabwe) to compete.”
Philander has his work cut out for him with regards to reclaiming his place in the Proteas dressing room but is ready to use his time with the A-side to full effect.
“It’s always good when there’s competition around. It steps it up in the group. There’ll always be pressure in international cricket and I’d like to get myself to the best I can be as quickly as possible. Starting in the first four day game in Zimbabwe, I’m going there to compete and nothing less.”