South African captain Graeme Smith says opening bowler Philander can get even better.
Since Vernon Philander made his debut against Australia in November 2011, he has gone on to take 87 wickets in 15 Test matches.
His bowling average of 16.81 is the best in contemporary cricket and he is ranked as the number two bowler in the world – with only fellow opener Dale Steyn ahead of him.
It is fairly outstanding that Philander has found this much success in such a relatively short career, but despite the plaudits his captain still thinks he can improve.
“His new ball spells are so effective that if he can get his old ball spells to that to the same level he can really produce,” Smith said to Super Sport.
“I know it’s asking a lot but I believe he can get there.”
Philander, Steyn and Morne Morkel form the most feared pace attack in world cricket. The two openers have been the main architects in the three lowest Test totals ever made against South Africa. Along with dismissing Pakistan for 49 in the first match of the current series, they have also reduced New Zealand to 45 and Australia to 47 in Philander’s first Test.
The pace bowler with have the opportunity to increase his haul in the third and final Test match against Pakistan on Friday. South Africa have already won the series after Philander’s 9-99 helped them defeat the Pakistanis in Cape Town on Sunday.